ST LUCIA has been assured of further assistance from the Republic of China to help in the revitalization of the banana industry.
The assurance came from Ambassador Douglas Shen Wednesday while speaking at the Third Stakeholder Project Completion and Evaluation Workshop of the Saint Lucia-Taiwan Black Sigatoka Management Project (BSMP) held at Orchid Centre, Union Propagation Station.
Ambassador Shen noted that the project had not only effectively controlled the banana disease, but also doubled the growth in the export of fruit. He said the successful implementation of the BSMP programme had become a WTO case study, and serving as a model for international agriculture cooperation.
Mr. John Calixte, Permanent Secretary in Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, spoke on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture, Ezechiel Joseph. He said that the Government of Saint Lucia was very pleased with the positive impact of the BSMP project in controlling and managing the black sigatoka disease, noting that the project had created the platform for farmers and other industry stakeholders to focus on the recovery and revitalization of the banana industry, with emphasis on increasing farm yields and productivity levels.
Attending the workshop were representatives of producer organizations, exporters and supporting agencies of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives. Participants overwhelmingly expressed their appreciation for the project, and called on the governments of Saint Lucia and Taiwan to continue its support for the agricultural sector, given the undeniable impact such investments were having on employment and rural economy in particular.
Ambassador Shen reported that only last week, on behalf of his country, he handed over the Aquaculture Project to the government, which made Saint Lucia the leading aquaculture country in Eastern Caribbean region. He added: “Today, I am more than happy to witness again another successful completion of our bilateral agriculture cooperation project, Banana Black Sigatoka Management Project ”.