The Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) is partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development to train 54 female Saint Lucian farmers in climate-resilient agricultural practices.
The opening ceremony for the initiative was held on Thursday, February 16, 2023, at the Union Orchid Gardens, where project details were shared with participants.
Under the project dubbed the “Agriculture Climate Resilience Project for Women”, the women from the northern and southern regions will receive training from February to June 2023 under the initiative which is being funded by the Government of Taiwan.
The Agriculture Climate Resilience Project for Women is a sub-project of the “Assisting Economic Recovery and Empowerment of Youth and Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in the Post-COVID-19 Era — Technical Assistance for Youth and Women’s Employment, Entrepreneurship and Financial Inclusion (also known as the Youth and Women Empowerment Project).
The goal of the Agriculture Climate Resilience Project for Women is to build female farmers’ awareness and capacity on climate change. This will be done in three components:
• Workshop on field management skills and knowledge
• Selection of climate resilience varieties suitable for female farmers
• Construction of hoop greenhouses and irrigation system for participating female farmers based on the land area they have.
Each participant will receive a hoop greenhouse, seeds/seedlings, a small water tank, or drip lines.
His Excellency Peter Chia-yen Chen, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, said the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), through the Taiwan Technical Mission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, has taken several corrective measures to assist Saint Lucian farmers in combating the challenges posed by climate change.
“In the early phase of the Seven Crops Project,” he said, “adopting appropriate mitigation technologies and managing water for efficient productivity and resource utilization. Heading into the second phase of the project, and combined with our Youth and Women Economic Empowerment Project, we will put into practice those techniques for female farmers and prepare them for the necessary skills and capacity.”
Ambassador Chen commended Hon. Alfred Prospere, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development, for his attention and leadership in the area of climate-resilient agriculture, which is one of the main foundations of achieving food security. He also reaffirmed the Government of Taiwan’s commitment to working with the Government of Saint Lucia to realize Saint Lucia’s national development agenda, which includes sustainable food production and climate-resilient agriculture.
Hon. Prospere said climate change is a serious problem that confronts many farmers in many ways, including acidic soils and chronic drought conditions.
“Climate change is affecting our forest resources (and) having a negative impact on our soils,” he said. “If you have soils that are not fertile, you are not able to produce the food in the quantities and yields that you expect. Climate change is also having an impact on our water resources.”
Hon. Prospere thanked the Government of Taiwan for continuing to support Saint Lucia’s agricultural sector: “I want to thank the Government of Taiwan and the Taiwan Technical Mission for their continuous support to the Ministry of Agriculture.”
Meanwhile, Mrs. Souraya Niles-Regis, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development, said women in agriculture face many obstacles. These include lack of access to land, financing, markets, training/education, suitable working conditions, wage gaps, and unequal treatment. Abolishing gender-specific barriers in farming, she stated, would not only empower women to achieve their highest economic potential, but also help feed a hungry world.
“Presently, 820 million people worldwide are undernourished in developing countries,” Niles-Regis stated. “Giving females access to the same resources and education as males could increase food production by an estimated 30%, potentially eliminating hunger for 150 million people. Increasing women’s earnings (also) has a domino effect in improving the quality of life of their families.”
Ms. Janey Joseph, Director of the Department of the Public Service, Labour and Gender Affairs, said the introduction of the project was very timely, given the economic difficulties many women face, especially in the post-COVID-19 era.
“We are very pleased to see that the Taiwanese Technical Mission in Saint Lucia has responded to this reality and joined forces with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development to build the capacity of 54 female farmers on climate change, zeroing in on critical aspects of transformational value, such as field management and climate resilience varieties most suitable for women farmers.”