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