Taiwan to Help St Lucia in Fight Against Black Sigatoka Disease

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Above: a banana plant (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

St Lucia is finding help as it works to combat the increasing problem of the black sigatoka banana plant disease.

Taiwan has announced a donation of just under $700,000 USD to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture to begin phase one of St Lucia’s Banana Recovery Rescue Plan.

“Taiwan and St Lucia have been working together in developing the agriculture sector for several years and this project is just one of the many programmes between our government and it will surely help the banana industry overcome severe challenges,” said Taiwanese Ambassador to St Lucia James Chang. “It is my firm belief that through our joint efforts not only the capacity and confidence of the banana farmers will be enhanced, but also the high quality produced will be tremendous business and [bring] marketing rewards to farmers in St Lucia.”

Taiwan will also soon be sending on-the-ground support to St Lucia to assist in the fight.

“We do understand what is required — we know we have the scientists and technical experts to do the job and what they require is assistance and constant support,” said Agriculture Minister Moses Jn Baptiste. “Over the past months we have been discussing how we can deal with this programme in a scientific way.”

Last month,St Lucia Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony announced last month that his country would retain its diplomatic relations with Taiwan, after months of speculation that it could break those ties in favour of relations with China.