Press Release:– To ensure the sustainability and survival of the agricultural sector, the Government of Saint Lucia, in partnership with the Caribbean Development Fund invested approximately EC$4.2 million toward a youth agricultural enterprise program.
Currently 80 young Saint Lucians are receiving training and support the use of appropriate technologies and the application of best practices.
Adline Eudovique, National Coordinator of the Youth Agri-Enterprise Program in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, appealed to young people to explore job opportunities in the agricultural sector.
“We ‘re looking at the creation of young entrepreneurs in agriculture, who are more open to introducing and embracing new technologies to move agriculture forward,” said Ms. Eudovique.
“The average age of a farmer in Saint Lucia and the region is about 55 – 60 years, so we do have an aging population among the farmers that is an impediment to the introduction of technology and to the longevity of the ministry’s plans for agriculture.”
The Youth Agri-Enterprise Program has been operational for approximately six years. The program caters to farmers who own or lease private lands. Crown lands are also utilized.
“River Doree is our most diversified site, where you can find green houses, apiculture which is honey production, and different enterprises, while in Beausejour, you can find different livestock enterprises. We have approximately 28 acres in Roseau which the ministry decided to move most of the land into banana production.”
Ms. Eudovique said the SLDB has made the terms and conditions for loans for farmers more lenient to encourage growth and youth participation in the farming industry. To date, there has been no defaults on loan payments.