Citing the challenge Saint Lucia faces regarding food security, Agriculture Minister Alfred Prospere has reiterated his concern about the Island’s high food import bill.
“We have to do the best we can to reduce it drastically. I believe we can do it,” Prospere told reporters on Monday on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting.
“I know we can do it, and I know once we engage our farmers, and we give the farmers the support that they need we will be able to reduce that,” the Minister asserted.
Prospere spoke in the wake of a sea moss festival his Ministry organised in connection with World Food Day.
He said it was an opportunity to bring together individuals who manufacture sea moss by-products.
“We saw quite a number of persons producing various products but those persons, in my discussion with them, I could tell that there are lots of challenges in terms of standards, packaging, promotion and really a lot of them have just started by producing those products at home,” Prospere observed.
However, he disclosed that he wants to see those products on supermarket shelves.
“It is one thing to do it at home, but the next level is for us to be able to see it on the supermarket shelves,” Prospere told reporters.
He also spoke of the need to export the by-products.
The Minister said he was concerned that Saint Lucia produces a lot and sells its products abroad, where they undergo processing and return to local supermarket shelves for sale.
“If we have the potential of making it happen here, I think it is going to be a big boost for the agro-processing sub-sector,” he explained.
We will end up like Venezuela…unable to produce food to feed a fraction of our people. C Eliaus, E. Joseph, C. George, M. Jn Baptiste and shamefully YOY are a bunch of fail Mean-east-ters.
Prospere you talk, you keep seeing what is on the surface but I do not think you really analyze the problems that we are having. St Lucia only produces food in seasons. St Lucia needs to see how they can prevent so much wastage when crops are in season and find ways to store mass production. That is one of the major issue we continue to face. As of now local carrots are not yet in season, yet the supermarkets restaurants and hotels have to resort to imported ones.
Also, Prospere tell your farmers to stop using imported fertilizers and feeds as well. Grow their own. You talk about local and grow our own, so why can’t farmers do their own fertilizers instead of these chemical enhance feeds. Stop blaming consumers and take a look at what farmers are giving consumers. They hike prices and blame it on fertilizers. Why import fertilizers. We give our livestock chemical enhance feeds when we have local natural foods available like dry coconut for foals, lendoose for rabbits etc. Or we can manufacture our own feeds. We have a long way to go Prospere to prevent our large import bill.
I hear a lot about “buy local” which I am more than happy to do. However, it is not always easy to find local such as tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, green onions and cucumbers. There are times we don’t see these things for weeks on end. Also, fresh milk and eggs. People cannot support the farmers and “buy local” if the items are not available.
Yawnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. This incompetent man bores me. Talk is cheap!