“I’m looking forward to seeing this project engage as many farmers as possible.” - Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development Alfred Prospere
CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA — The governments of St. Lucia and Taiwan (ROC) recently signed an agreement intended to improve the lives and incomes of St. Lucian farmers and also strengthen the Caribbean nation’s agriculture sector.
The new agreement, entitled “Enhancing the Efficiency of Production — Distribution Supply Chain in Fruit and Vegetable Sector in Saint Lucia (Second Term)”, spans from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2026.
According to a statement by the St. Lucian government, “The second term follows a three-year term which ended in November 2021, for which the main objective was to reduce Saint Lucia’s food import bill by 30 percent during that period.
“The programme sees Taiwan leveraging agricultural technology to strengthen Saint Lucia’s agricultural production, improve farmers’ income and build up the resilience of the agricultural sector to mitigate the effects of climate change.”
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development Alfred Prospere thanked Taiwan ROC for this second installment of the programme, noting that farmers found it beneficial although the COVID-19 pandemic stunted progress to some extent.
“Since July last year, our farmers have not been exporting bananas to the markets and they are struggling with regards to farm inputs and incentives for the whole agricultural sector,” the minister said.
“I’m confident that this five-year period of the project will really help to incentivize the farming sector in Saint Lucia.
“I’m looking forward to seeing this project engage as many farmers as possible.”
Mutual cooperation to benefit agriculture
Speaking further to the mutual cooperation between the two nations in assisting farmers and improving the agriculture industry, Taiwanese Ambassador to Saint Lucia Peter Chen noted, “As our world continues to confront worsening climate emergencies — such as severe storms, hurricanes and extreme weather — food security has come under serious threat.
“In that regard, the Taiwan Technical Mission will continue to provide assistance, including promoting diversified production, establish a high efficiency production model and strengthen the sales and marketing mechanism for local agricultural products.”
He added, “I would also like to reiterate that Taiwan will continue to work with the government of Saint Lucia, and to work with the Ministry of Agriculture, to support the growth and development of Saint Lucia’s agricultural sector and enhancing the betterment of our two peoples.
“We trust that today’s signing continues to build on the progress made to date.”