Saint Lucia government working to reduce food importation bill

ST, LUCIA – As the threat of a global food crisis looms ahead, St. Lucia is taking strides to reduce its food importation bill.

Minister for Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries and Forestry, the Honourable Ezechiel Joseph says the construction of an abattoir on the island, is one effort at increasing productivity for local farmers, while simultaneously reducing the island’s gross food imports.

“We will not be able to accomplish self-sufficiency. But we believe that we can have an impact on the importation of a number of products that we can grow in St. Lucia. We are targeting for this facility, (the abattoir), four areas with regards to livestock – pigs, sheep, goats, and rabbits. We believe if we can assist our farmers with regards to production of these livestock, we will be able to reduce our importation bill,” says Joseph.

Minister Joseph says government is focusing on developing both crop and livestock farming with the provision of new agricultural facilities, both in the north and south of the island. The Union Agricultural Station, he says, is intended for crop cultivation and high-tech facilities, while the Beausejour area will focus on livestock and meat processing.

“One of the main areas of concern with regards to our farmers, and our special livestock farmers,” the minister notes, “is the aspect of relying on the butcher to come and purchase when they have stock available. But with the meat processing facility, that hurdle would not be deterring production, because you would have a reliable market where the management would be working with our farmers and will be able to schedule production where they would be able to sell on a continuous basis.”

The agriculture minister emphasized the need for preparation, in anticipation of the developing food crisis, which he says should not disastrously affect St. Lucia, as steps are being taken to ensure food security.

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