Export Saint Lucia, the country’s premier agency for trade promotion has signed two key contracts which seek to boost the capacity of agricultural stakeholders to supply quality products to new markets under the project “Enhancing the Capacity of Stakeholders in the Agricultural Sector to Supply Quality Products in New Markets.”
“The Pack House Project”, as it is known, was launched by Export Saint Lucia in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to elevate the quality standards and post-harvest handling of agricultural products for domestic consumption and export markets.
Recognizing the potential for economic expansion through augmented exports, the project seeks to refurbish community pack house facilities and provide technical assistance to local farmers and agribusinesses.
The overarching goal is to enhance the export competitiveness of Saint Lucian enterprises in international markets.
The first contract was signed with the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) for services towards the creation of web-based training modules in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
This elearning platform will increase accessibility to training for producers and exporters across the island. Farmers therefore do not have to leave their farms or travel long distances to benefit from training aimed at improved the quality of food they produce.
The second contract was signed with the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS), who will be the Agency responsible for facilitating the training to farmers and exporters in the identified certification areas.
Through targeted training and capacity building, these two contract arrangements will ensure Saint Lucia’s agricultural exports meet the quality and food safety requirements of international markets.
This will ensure the foods consumed domestically are safe for consumption and also open new opportunities for the country’s fresh produce abroad.
Export Saint Lucia’s CEO, Ms. Sunita Daniel indicated that, “these strategic partnerships will enable our nation’s farmers to meet international standards for trade and gain access to markets which were previously out of reach for them. Additionally, the three community pack houses will gain the required certifications needed to allow entry into new markets.”
Ms. Daniel added that “partnerships with strategic partners are important for ensuring cohesiveness and a reduction in duplication of effort. It is even more vital that in a space where financial resources are scarce, that we maximize the use of existing expertise nationally. This is why the SALCC and the SLBS, both national institutions have been selected as partners on this project.”
Principal of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, Dr. Madgerie Jameson- Charles and Dr Xanthe Dubison, Head of Certification of the SLBS signed the contracts on behalf of their institutions.
The project is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank under the 11th cycle of the Special Development Fund.
SOURCE: Export Saint Lucia