THE Taiwan Technical Mission in collaboration with the Banana Productivity Improvement Project (BPIP) of the Ministry of Agriculture is helping to stabilize the income of banana farmers impacted by Tropical storm Kirk. This is being done through the distribution of over 20,000 seedlings of short-term fruit and vegetables including watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya and cucumber. The crops which have now reached the market have provided much needed income to several farmers as they await the maturity of the banana crop.
In expressing his satisfaction with the programme, Head of the Taiwan Technical Mission Mr. Mario Cheng said, “It is indeed gratifying to see vegetable production in regions where only bananas were originally produced. Deglos, La Caye, Grace, Roseau, and Micoud have begun to produce fruits and vegetables to effectively stabilize banana farmers’ income”.
To date over 150 banana farmers have also benefitted from a Global Gap assistance programme from the Taiwanese Mission. These farmers have received masks, gloves, protective clothing, medical kits, record books and other materials to improve banana farmers participation in Global GAP certification opportunities.
The Mission has helped the BPIP gain success with plant nutrition, rehabilitation of banana fields, Black Sigatoka disease control, rehabilitation of banana sheds, de-silting of major interceptor drains, rehabilitation of farm feeder roads and the control of weeds and nematodes.
The Technical Mission will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to further enhance the capability of local farmers. Taiwan is and will remain a partner in sustainable development for Saint Lucia’s banana industry.