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Agriculture Official Says Eating Patterns A Major Challenge To Food Security


Former Chief Extension Officer Kemuel Jn Baptiste has said that cultural eating patterns represent a significant challenge for reducing Saint Lucia’s food import bill.

Jn Baptiste, currently the Acting Deputy Director of Agricultural Services, spoke last week during an appearance on the Government Information Service (GIS) programme ‘Agriculture on the Move.’

“We have shifted away from eating traditional foods that we cultivate to eating a lot of luxury foods,” he told programme Host Philip Sydney.

“Walk through the supermarkets, walk through the freezer section, walk through the grocery section and you will recognise that the local produce section is the smallest section in the supermarket,” the Agriculture official asserted.

In addition, Jn Baptiste observed that most of what people consume in the country does not produce, such as rice, flour, sugar, and potatoes.

The senior Agriculture official advocated a regional approach to food and nutrition security for the Caribbean Islands.

“We have the wider territories of Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad, Belize and so on – let them be the territories that continue to support the majors, the rice, the flour, the sugar,” he stated.

“But let not the governments forget that the Jagdeo initiative was still sitting there where Guyana opened up itself to investors from the Islands,” Jn Baptiste recalled.

“We ought to take advantage of this if we are going to see any significant reduction in the food import supply,” he observed.

Jn Baptiste  spoke about livestock, poultry, and vegetable production during the wide-ranging interview.

Headline photo: Stock image

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  1. Eating patterns prove a challenge. Shows a bunch of overweight people. That’s the problem right there bub.

  2. and when you have a small size they wanna call you meg saying you sick all kinda things negative…people need to stop that!!!!! the overweight people can really control all this weight they putting on in this slu place…and for this kfc thing trust me theres something in it that really not good…..i had been eating that alot been suffering and only to know my cholesterol was high…something that never happened to me before….people i urge you to eat healthy…im not saying that being big is bad especially if its a family history i respect that…but for some awa its jus wat you eat

  3. Spot on!!
    SLU also needs to make our “traditional” foods more appealing and interesting. I know a lot of people do do that, but for the restaurant and take away canteens; nothing is nicer than a dasheen salad, or even mashed dasheen with some herbs and spices – yum!! My family likes when I make a breadfruit salad with cucumbers and onions. All it takes is a little imagination to make our traditional foods more appealing – and our restaurants and food take-away canteens can do the same. Chicken and chips is not everything!!

  4. You know why the local produce partbof the supermarket is small? Its because massy isnt paying the farmers a decent pay for their produce. Massy is buying produce at a price and reslling it for more the 100% more while the farmer gets the minimum, so tell me acting dorector how is that going to envorage existing and young farmers to produce. To curb that food import bill things has to start on a policy level and then chanel through.

  5. Mr Jn Baptiste we need to address the transportation issues before we begin to think regional food production.
    It is cheaper to move goods from China and Miami to St Lucia than from Trinidad and Guyana to St lucia. We cannot travel daily to islands of the region much less moving goods and fresh produce.

  6. This agriculture minister only talks with no action words with out work’s just can’t do that’s all for now stop the BS


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