Agriculture Minister, Moses ‘Musa’ Jn Baptiste, has said that he is pleased with the performance of the agriculture sector.
But Jn Baptiste has told reporters that there is room for improvement.
“We have seen agriculture increase value added by seven percent in this year’s estimates and seen double digit growth in almost every area,” he disclosed.
However, the minister noted that there was a slight decrease in chicken and fish landings.
Jn Baptiste expressed the view that the progress being recorded now in terms of sales to hotels and supermarkets, has a lot to do with efforts made to standardize the operations of farmers.
He explained that as a result of the long-running farmer certification programme, farmers are more aware of what they need to do to produce quality food.
Jn Baptiste said there is more awareness of standards.
He disclosed that the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards has been working very hard over the years to develop product standards for the agriculture industry.
Asked about projections for the performance of agriculture in next five years, the minister was of the opinion that Saint Lucia can look forward to an increase in the consumption of safe, healthy local food.
Jn Baptiste also felt there would be an increase in the number of businesses in agriculture.
He spoke of an increase in the use of local food in the school feeding programme, as well as the need for emphasis on essential oils.
The minister said that millions of dollars plus employment can also be had from chicken production.