Belle Vue farmers stay competitive

GIS:-The Cooperative Attempts Innovative Market Approaches Through Its Organic Farming Project.

The Belle Vue Farmers Co-Operative is hoping to improve product standards via an organic farming initiative.

Anthony Herman, Project Coordinator at the Farmers Co-op, said the organization constantly aims to keep up with modern developments and remain competitive.

“For a while now at the Belle Vue Farmers Cooperative, we’ve always been very involved in innovative work, and as a marketing agency, we’ve also recognized that we are now in a global village. So we had to come up with ways in which we could stay in the market, and one of those ways is through the introduction of organic farming,” he said.

Such improvements, Mr Herman added, may even provide Saint Lucia an edge in the tourism sector.

“The whole idea behind this is that at the end of the two-year period, Saint Lucians will be able to walk into supermarkets and purchase organic, well packaged commodities; and within the hotel industry which is very competitive worldwide, we hope to give the Saint Lucian product an edge, by our visitors eating wholesome, organic foods when they visit our shores.”

Environmental Hygiene Specialist Lesmond Magloire, the project consultant, explained that the term “organic” does not necessarily mean a lack of chemicals.

“The whole idea of the word ‘greening’ or ‘organic’ doesn’t mean it is devoid of chemicals. In essence, you cannot have a purely 100 percent organic farm. But what we’re trying to do is to make people understand that by expanding your knowledge base of the use and misuse of chemicals, you will know how to use those products more effectively and more beneficially, rather than to just use them without reservation.”

The organic farming initiative took root at the Belle Vue Farmers Cooperative following a composting project funded by the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Program.

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