Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, accompanied by a contingent of Ministry of Agriculture officials, paid an extensive visit to storm-ravaged farms on the east coast of the island last Saturday.
The team included the Deputy Director of Agricultural Services, Mr. Barry Innocent, Extension Officers from Region 4 and 5, and technical officers from the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport.
Key amongst the Prime Minister’s observations was the several large farms that were damaged because of their proximity to rivers that had overflowed their banks during the passage of Tropical Storm Matthew.
The Prime Minister noted that his firsthand experience has filled him with great admiration for the endurance and determination of the local farming community. He also drew attention to the need for quick responses and mitigation measures as weather reports indicate varying degrees of storm activity are looming.
“I am here at Woodlands in Vieux fort North and I have to tell you, every day I come out to the farms and meet with the farmers I have a newborn respect for them in terms of the dedication that they have shown and even for continuing in this sector. When you look at the conditions of the road, the conditions of access, it is unbelievable that they have continued to prevail over these circumstances,” the Prime Minister said.
Chastanet said a multi-ministerial approach to helping farmers recuperate from their losses is underway and that significant improvements to farming infrastructure will form part of a holistic recovery process.
“This Government is committed to help farmers redevelop, get feeder roads and get inputs. We will be looking at things that we can do to mitigate storms in the future and how we can make this industry substantially stronger,” Chastanet said.
Saint Lucia experienced gusty winds and intense rainfall due to the passage of Tropical Storm Matthew on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.