Personnel from the island’s agricultural unit are keen on endorsing the use of farm mechanization as part of a strategy to increase productivity and food security.
The Ministry of Agriculture is promoting the use of small machinery among innovations that could be critical to Saint Lucia’s food security, as autonomous farming promises to produce more crops with less effort and less environmental impact.
Farmers, extension officers, and students recently completed a small machinery training course, the latest feat of the second phase of the Seven Crops Project that seeks to enhance the efficiency of the production and distribution supply chain in the fruits and vegetables sector. Participants learned how to operate tillers and bankers to perform primary and secondary tillage for vegetable farming.
Project Coordinator for the Seven Crops Project, Adline Eudovic, said the training is in preparation for a shipment of small machinery that is due to arrive later this year, as the Ministry of Agriculture works toward adapting to farm mechanization.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security, and Rural Development, Alfred Prospere, said the introduction of small machines—particularly labour-saving agricultural technology—is aimed at making the agriculture sector more appealing to the youth. He notes that farm mechanization not only saves time and energy, but it is also more efficient and can contribute significantly to the development of value chains.
Minister Prospere encourages farmers to adopt sustainable agricultural mechanization methods, as the ministry leads efforts to address the interconnected challenges of livelihoods and food security.