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Saint Lucia Sets Sights On Stepping Up Pork, Ginger Production

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In a bid to build the resilience of the country’s agriculture sector and reduce its reliance on food imports, the Government of Saint Lucia, through its Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development, is actively seeking to revitalise some of its important value chains starting with pork and ginger.

In May this year, government stakeholders met with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to analyse several value chains with the greatest potential to balance their supply with demand over a two-year period.

Among the shortlisted commodities analysed were pork, honey, ginger, and cacao. During a value chain selection working session, government stakeholders examined the potential for scaling up production and accessing market opportunities for these commodities that would enable the country to substitute imports with items grown and raised locally.

These discussions resulted in the country’s decision to continue working alongside FAO in revitalising the pork and ginger sectors under a two-year project of FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme.

The project focuses on promoting competitive import substitution and export agricultural value chains in Saint Lucia and the value chain selection is the first phase of implementation.

Speaking on the selection of the value chains, Mr Barrymore Felicien, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry, remarked that “These two commodities serve as excellent selections for prioritizing value chain development. Pork has remained one of the commodities with the highest level and value of imports, contributing to our high food import bill. Our Marketing Unit has captured the importation figure for 2022 as XCD 13, 414,335.00.”

He added that “Ginger in its various forms is in great demand and is renowned for its health attributes. Demand has outstripped local production and it has great export potential as well.”

Mr Felicien concluded that, “The further development of these two value chains will assist with reducing the food import bill, enhancing food security and providing sustainable livelihoods for our pork producers and farmers.”

Through the project, FAO will support the government in strengthening the pork and ginger value chains to increase earnings and be better positioned to contribute to the CARICOM 25 percent by 2025 food imports reduction initiative.

With the selection completed, the next step in this process is bringing together various public and private sector stakeholders, including farmers, processors, entrepreneurs, and different government agencies to improve coordination and perform a comprehensive assessment of both value chains.

By closely working with these diverse stakeholders, the national value chain teams will be better able to identify constraints and opportunities along the value chain to determine the best course of action to address them.

Mr Juan Cheaz Pelaez, FAO Trade and Markets Officer for the Caribbean and Lead Technical Officer for the project remarked that, “the selection of the right commodities with the highest potential for scaling up is a most crucial step in developing the value chains in a holistic manner within two years. The second most important thing is bringing together the right stakeholders. The methodology we use requires the public and private sector to effectively engage with each other and to later develop and implement a robust strategy and action plan that will help to grow the production base, encourage market access and private sector investment to ensure the sustainability and success of the sector.”

During the assessment of the value chains, over the coming months, the stakeholders will draft a 5-year Upgrading Strategy and Action Plan for both pork and ginger value chains.

The Strategy will later be validated, and the Action Plan implemented over the course of the project. A national value chain team comprising of public and private sector stakeholders will be formed for each value chain to lead this process, with the FAO Caribbean Value Chain team playing a facilitatory role for the duration of the project.

Thereafter and beyond, full implementation of the strategy and plan will be led by the national teams. It is expected that within five years, the country will accelerate development of the pork and ginger value chains into lucrative, competitive, sustainable, and resilient industries.

SOURCE: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

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1 COMMENT

  1. Please ensure the action plan includes specific areas are identified for pork prodution. It’s a shame that people in residential areas have to put up with the unhealthy environment and smell from pig farms in close proximity to their homes. The government needs to do something about that…

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