DR. JOSE MRIA LIU, Vice Minister at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan) led a delegation to Saint Lucia from August 29-30. During his stay, Liu visited the Banana Productivity Improvement Project (BPIP) office and a local banana farm at Crown Lands to better understand the actual needs of the Saint Lucian banana industry.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture (Saint Lucia), Augustin Cadette, on behalf of the Ministry, welcomed the delegation and expressed gratitude to the government and people of Taiwan for their contribution in assisting the development of agriculture of Saint Lucia.
Cadette emphasized that banana is one of the most important economy crops in the island and that the Ministry looks forward to continued cooperation with the government of Taiwan to further increase the productivity and quality of local bananas.
Liu noted that realizing banana industry plays an important role in the economy of Saint Lucia, the Taiwanese government will remain committed to support the development of Saint Lucia’s banana industry through the joint effort of the two countries.
After the meeting, Liu visited the local banana farmers at Crown Lands to see the banana harvesting and packing process. He also spoke with local farmers, sampled some bananas and praised its unique and delicious flavour.
The new bilateral banana project will be executed over a four-year period and cost nearly US$5 million. During the first year, the major focus shall be on restoring the industry to pre-Hurricane Matthew condition and increasing productivity on the existing acreages.
Thereafter, attention will be placed on expanding current acreages, building resilience to climate change, establishing sustainable financing mechanism, building capacity and strengthening disease control measures.