THE Taiwan Technical Mission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives introduced its Farmers Market Expo, a three-day event held at the Castries City Hall from Wednesday November 25th to Friday November 27th 2020. This unprecedented occasion was a great success despite the prohibitions and protocols mandated by the Ministry of Health to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in St. Lucia.
All safety measures that are currently in effect were strictly adhered to, allowing only 25 persons inside the building at a time. Additionally, patrons and farmers alike, were required to wear face masks and sanitize upon entry. Furthermore, farmers and patrons maintained adequate social distancing within the premises and utilized the alcohol-based hand sanitizers provided while purchasing their products.
Each day of the Farmers Market Expo, the doors to the City hall opened promptly at 9:00 a.m. to welcome interested and curious consumers to patronize local farmers and small business owners. Upon entry, visitors received free samples and received exciting giveaways from their purchases. The vendors who participated at this Expo were Health Nutz, Island Pop, Rego Dolls Spice, Lucian Child, Golden Crown Fast Food Inc and the Propagation Tissue Culture Unit.
Available for purchase included but was not limited to; skin care products, dry seasoning, vegan and gluten free snacks, fresh produce such as sweet potatoes and pumpkins, all locally made and grown in Saint Lucia.
The Government of Saint Lucia continues to give their support and encouragement to the participating vendors through their patronage and contribution towards this initiative. The exposition was well received by Sen. Hon. Hermangild Francis, Minister of Home Affairs, Justice and National Security, Mr. Barrymore Felicien, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, Mayor of Castries His Worship Peterson D. Francis, Germa Inglis-Alfred, Financial Analyst to the Ministry of Agriculture and Sharlene Regis from the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit.
The Farmers Market Expo was also cordially welcomed by the presence of the Taiwan Ambassador to Saint Lucia, Peter Chen and his appointed staff at the Embassy, Mr. Johnathan Yang and Mr. Bill Huang. The Ambassador engaged in brief discourse with the farmers while he visited and patronized his selected choice of value-added products from each booth.
Moving forward in 2021, the Taiwan Technical Mission and the Ministry of Agriculture anticipate continued strategies and efforts to provide outlets that assist local farmers to sell and showcase their produce. These efforts are especially appreciated now more than ever by local farmers and small business owners. Due to the negative impacts suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Lucia’s economy has been severely affected, leaving farmers with very little opportunities to flourish. The increase of farmer’s markets will create the ideal outlet for smaller producers to sell specialty items as well as other crops. This outlet will increase their disposable income while minimizing the number of imported goods sold at supermarkets
By the same premises, St. Lucian consumers appreciate and look forward to these avenues that are created for them to purchase fresh and natural produce, while also helping them to promote a healthier lifestyle at an affordable price.