Agriculture Minister Alfred Prospere expressing concern over food import costs amid an impending price increase for bread has advocated increased flour production from plantains and other crops.
“I wish we were able to use our plantain and other products to be able to produce flour. But you know we are doing that in some parts of Saint Lucia. But it is nowhere close to the quantity that we need,” Prospere told reporters earlier this week.
“I have seen top-quality flour produced from plantains and other things that we grow here. I wish we could increase that level of production so we can reduce on our import bill in terms of food,” the Minister stated.
Prospere said he was concerned about the cost of food imports and declared that Saint Lucia farmers need support.
He spoke ahead of the January 2023 increase in the price of bread as bakers contend with escalating production costs.
Creole bread would move from 35 to 45 cents, while the small pan loaf would cost $4.35 from $3.60.
The large pan loaf, which was $5.40, will move to $6.50.
In disclosing the new prices, Commerce Minister Ema Hippolyte explained that the last hike in the price of controlled bread was in 2008.
Hippolyte told a news conference on Monday that the government would continue to subsidise the price of flour to bakers.
Agriculture Minister Alfred Prospere observed that the government had spent millions in subsidies to support bakers over many months.
At the same time, he felt the bread price hike was necessary.
“But we have to now look at what we can produce locally,” he told reporters.