by Neval Auguste, Government Information Service
The Minister for Agriculture, Food Security, Fisheries and Rural Development, Hon. Alfred Prospere, has reported great achievements in the agricultural sector for the last financial year.
The 2022 Economic and Social Review shows a 9.8 percent increase in value added to the agriculture industry over the last two years. Among the sectors that sited an increase was the banana sector.
The minister said: “We also saw an increase in banana production in 2022. Banana production increased by almost 11 percent and although we had a major problem with sustaining the UK market, we were able to capture a 58.2 percent expansion of our bananas in the regional market which is excellent and should be continuous.”
The minister stated that at a recent meeting, stakeholders identified ways in which central government can further assist banana and plantain farmers. He also highlighted recent government interventions that have rendered assistance.
“Government needs to assist them further with fertilizers. The cost of fertilizers has always been a problem. Government provided two subsidies one in September, one in January, and they are still making a request for increased assistance that will enable them to increase production. We have a submitted memo to the Cabinet, so very soon we should be providing some more support to our farmers who are suffering because of the high cost of fertilizers.”
Minister Prospere called attention to his ministry’s efforts to attain food security in Saint Lucia, some of which include increased production in livestock, the banana industry, fisheries, general crop production, poultry and egg production. Fresh vegetables including cabbages and tomatoes also saw an increase in production which he attributed to the Seven Crops Programme.