Above: a cacao plantation in St Lucia (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
There recovery of St Lucia’s agricultural sector since the Christmas Eve trough storm in 2013 is “encouraging,” according to St Lucia Agriculture Minister Moses Jn Baptiste.
The island has been able to rehabilitate a number of farms across the country in the last year, with help from the Food and Agriculture Organization and regional and international agencies.
“The year 2014 was a challenging but exciting ,” the Minister said. “We started 2014 with all our woes as a result of the Christmas Eve trough in 2013. At the beginning of 2014 it was estimated that Saint Lucia’s agriculture would lose about 10 percent of its output. The study that was done suggested that we would have a very challenging time in our recovery. But by mid 2014 we saw the farmers, the fishers and all those involved in the sector rebounding in a way that made us proud.”
The rehabilitations included new drainage systems and new tools for farmers.
Commercial plantain farmers also received a subsidy, and the government of Morocco helped distribute fertilizers.
“The Prime Minister also decided to allocate the portfolio of cooperatives to the Ministry of Agriculture,” Jn Baptiste said. “We were very pleased with that development and immediately embarked on a program to engage the cooperatives so that they are the engine for growth in the agricultural sector.”