Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has spoken of the need to create an agricultural hub in Saint Lucia, telling reporters that too many farmers are growing food without knowing whether there is a market for their produce.
“The idea is to be able to do an assessment,” the former Tourism Minister told reporters on Monday during a pre-cabinet interview.
“We know what the consumption is on a weekly basis and issue out contracts to farmers in specific areas to give them that security that whatever they are growing they know what the price is going to be, the quality they have to be able to deliver to and that we are expecting to over produce because we are expecting that there is a regional market for some of the stuff that we are going to be producing,” Chastanet said.
The Prime Minister spoke of the work that Consolidated Foods Limited (CFL) did with farmers, including the initiative by CFL and local hotels to ‘adopt’ farmers.
Chastanet asserted that the programme created stability.
He questioned the need for a marketing board, one of the debt-ridden entities which his administration has targetted for closure.
“If you look at the marketing board – why should the marketing board be given incentives to bring food in duty free when you have five or six major distributors here who are doing it more successfully and paying duty?” Chastanet said.