In its continued efforts towards development of the agriculture sector, government is moving along to improve production of seven main fruits and vegetables.
The Department of Agriculture in collaboration with the Taiwan Technical Mission through the “Enhancing the Efficiency of the Production-Distribution Supply Chain in the Fruit and Vegetable Sector” project, also known as the Seven Crops Project, hosted a training session for a cohort of farmers on four new varieties of lettuce being introduced, to complement the three types already being grown locally.
During the training, farmers were also introduced to irrigation techniques as well as other fertilizers that can be used to increase crop protection.
Project Coordinator of the Seven Crops Project, Adline Eudovic, said that the main objectives of the initiative are to help local farmers obtain a larger share of the market and reduce the importation of lettuce.
Production Specialist of the Seven Crops Project, Eric Chen, explained that the new varieties of lettuce used in the trial over the last seven weeks include the green and red rapid lettuce, and the green and red romaine lettuce.
“I’ve noticed that every time I visit the farm, the farmers are always planting the same variety, it’s all iceberg varieties. So we’re trying to introduce new varieties like the romaine and more leafy varieties, and we underwent a trial process to see which varieties are more suitable for Saint Lucia,” said Chen.
Local Farmer, Jaheim Etienne, said the training has been informative and encouraged farmers to take advantage of the alternative farming methods being highlighted through the Seven Crops Project.
The next phase of the project will include a post-harvest handling workshop as part of efforts to enhance the shelf life of the crops being produced locally.