by Geraldine Bicette- Joseph
The Fond St Jacques Development Committee recently received grants from a consortium of donors including GEF-SGP-UNDP and the OECS to establish the first Agro Tourism Park/Protected Landscape in Saint Lucia.
In an area prone to natural disasters and the damage that they bring, the idea for an agro-tourism park was born out of the need to establish sustainable economic activities within the community, that drew on natural resources.
Lencia Mathurin, Vice Chairperson of the Fond St. Jacques Development Committee, explained:
“Following Tropical Storm Debbie, we found that a lot of persons were migrating from the community due to loss of jobs and livelihoods and we wanted to find a way to create livelihoods for those persons. So we had several consultations with the community to find out what we can do to assist them. One of these consultations was with the farmers, where the idea came along that we should have an agro-tourism park, as this is what we are known for—farming and tourism. So we had the idea of marrying the two to create an agro tourism park.
“This park will incorporate the whole community of Fond St. Jacques. It will start from the bottom, which is Ravine Claire, and go all the way up to Bois Den and the rainforest park.”
It is hoped that the park will result in the growth of a wealth of various enterprises such as camping, hiking, sustainable agriculture, agro-processing, culinary and gastronomic experiences.
Fond St Jacques Development Committee Trustee, Mr. Columbus Philippe, is calling for all to take advantage of the opportunity.
“We are looking forward to persons using the project to create meaningful and sustainable livelihoods from these activities,” he said.
“We will be positioning ourselves to invite visitors both local and foreigners into the park so that they can immerse themselves in community activities. We will tailor it in such a way that the impact will be local.”
The Fond St Jacques Development Committee was established in 1994. Agro Tourism Park/Protected Landscape project was launched on Thursday, Oct, 27.
SOURCE: Government Information Service