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Extension Officers Undergo Hoop Greenhouse Training

By Reginald Andrew

In an effort to help reduce the country’s food importation bill, mechanisms are being put in place to help farmers yield greater production and better quality fruits.

Over the past weeks, extension officers here have been undergoing extensive training to facilitate the operations of hoop greenhouses.

Consequently, the department of agriculture in collaboration with the Taiwan Technical Mission

organized the training sessions to better equip the officers in that field.

Under the Seven Crops project, the two entities have organized several initiatives all geared towards reducing Saint Lucia’s food import bill.

The most recent initiative was a training session for agriculture extension officers on a newly introduced agricultural technology, hoop greenhouses.

Over the past weeks, Extension Officers here have undergone extensive training to facilitate Hoop Greenhouse operations—as the island seek to reduce its food importation. Under the Seven Crops Project, the two entities have organized several initiatives all geared towards reducing Saint Lucia’s food import bill. The most recent initiative being a training session for agriculture extension officers on a newly introduced agricultural technology, hoop greenhouses.

Project Coordinator of the Seven Crops Project, Adline Eudovic noted that the newly introduced technology will be of great benefit to Saint Lucian Farmers.

“We did one year of trials with the hoop greenhouses,” said Eudovic. “What we have noticed is that the quality and the quantity of the fruit was way better under the greenhouses throughout. Today, we will show the extension officers the necessary adjustments we have seen fit.”

Production Specialist of the Taiwan Technical Mission, Eric Chen, explained that the changes made will boost productivity of the hoop houses as they are tailored to the climate of Saint Lucia.

“According to the research last year, since we had all year round trials last year from the dry season to the rainy season we found that in terms of the growth rate and the pest control, the sweeteners and the quality of the fruit exceeded those in the open field,” he said. “So, we will use this technology to help the farmers easily produce in the rainy season.”

Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia, His Excellency Peter Shen, expressed satisfaction with the progress of the Seven Crops Project.

“I am glad that so many extension officers came to learn how to adjust to the technology. What we try to do along with the Ministry of Agriculture, is to promote food and nutrition security in Saint Lucia, and this technology will help—especially when it comes to climate change. This greenhouse will also become a very good measure to enhance the resilience of climate change,” Ambassador Shen said.

A cohort of individuals will be trained in the installation of the hoop greenhouses. The prices of the hoop greenhouses start at $350.

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