Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Former Minister Proclaims Bleak Future For Livestock Farming

Former Agriculture Minister Moses Jn Baptiste is predicting that a bleak future awaits livestock farming in Saint Lucia.

“Livestock from the Beausejour Agricultural Complex in Vieux Fort are being sold and their pens cleared in what signals the beginning of the end, to a long and illustrious history of excellence in agriculture, particularly in the area of animal husbandry and animal-based food production in Saint Lucia,” Jn Baptiste wrote on the official Facebook Page of the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP).

The Vieux Fort North MP  noted that the Beausejour Station and all of its facilities will cease to exist, to accommodate a horse racing track.

According to Jn Baptiste, the completed and fully-equipped Meat Processing Facility is a critical asset within the Beausejour Station and is a significant loss to the economy of Saint Lucia and to livestock farmers.

He said the farmers were hopeful that they would see increasing incomes once it had become operational.

The former minister declared that a projected EC $25 million dollars in income, has been lost and hundreds of farmers, have lost an opportunity to earn income from sales of livestock to the modern Meat Processing Facility.

“This lost opportunity would have injected cash into the veins of the rural economy, to help with a rural economic revival which is has not happened since the days of the banana boom,” Jn Baptiste lamented.

He expressed the view that construction of a national abattoir or Meat Processing Facility was absolutely necessary .

He recalled that  between 1997 and 2004 four independent studies by international experts concluded just that.

The former minister asserted that a 1999 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) study, identified the “absence of quality standards for production, processing and marketing” and “absence of appropriate slaughtering, processing and marketing facilities” as two major constraints to the development of Saint Lucia’s livestock sector.

He observed that consequently, in 2001 Saint Lucia Labour Party government, by Cabinet Conclusion No.1198 dated 19th November of 2001, secured lands at Beausejour Vieux Fort for the construction of the National Abattoir. In fact, 2.98 acres of land (Block #1219B, Parcel#4), was secured for the National Abattoir.

Jn Baptiste recalled that work on the Meat Processing Facility(MPF), was eventually started during 2009 after several reviews.

He commented that although some opined that the project would have sustainability challenges, most agreed that it was indeed important and strategic for the food security and rural economic revival of the Saint Lucian society.

“Funding was sought from the Taiwanese government who provided EC $12.5 million dollars and the taxpayers of Saint Lucia provided at least EC $ 9 million dollars,” he stated.

Jn Baptiste said that there were many starts and stops during the construction between 2009 and 2011.

“When I was given the honor to be the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development and Cooperatives, the ministry had to make several adjustments to repair deficiencies and to finally complete the project. By June 2016, the facility was complete with equipment installed and utilities connected,” he observed.

He declared that the  “so called “DSH Pearl of the Caribbean” fiasco” doomed the Meat Processing Facility and all the hope of substituting EC 25 million dollars’ worth of meat imports in addition to the possibility of creating wealth for hundreds.

“For over three years the UWP administration has promised another processing plant, for over three years the livestock farmers; small ruminant farmers, cattle farmers and pig farmers, have been mislead and openly lied to and for over three years further frustration has become widespread among an already stressed livestock-farmer community. Now there is talk of the demolition of the facility or the repurposing of a nearly EC 25-million-dollar national asset,” Jn Baptiste wrote on the SLP’s official Facebook page.

“It is for you to make up your own mind about yet another assault on the assets of Saint Lucia by the UWP administration. This is another opportunity gone, another catalyst for the Saint Lucian economy handed over to a foreign interest by the whims and fancies of a desperate and self-serving government,” he stated.

14 COMMENTS

  1. This is ABSOLUTELY INHUMANE AS TO WHAT the Government have done and what we St .lucians are allowing. Why DID OUR PEOPLE ALLOW THIS DISCUSSING THING TO HAPPEN? THE CHINESE ARE DOING THIS ALL OVER THE CARIBBEAN AND AFRICA. KICKING PEOPLE OFF THEIR LANDS AND TAKING IT. THE CORRUPTED THING PERARL OF THE CARIBBEAN IS ALL ABOUT DRUGS AND PROSTITUTION, THIS THING IS ALL ABOUT THE CHINESE PEOPLE . OUR PEOPLE WILL NEVER BENEFIT FROM THE REVENUE FROM THAT CASINO THE MONEY WILL BE SENT TO CHINA. ALSO WHO IS WATCHING THE TAXES HOW IT WILL BE PAID.” SO OUR PEOPLE WILL GO HUNGRY WHILE THE CHINESE GET RICH AND NOW THE FARMERS WILL SUFFER BECAUSE OF THE CHINESE”, PEOPLE WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS? I SAY KICK THEM OUT BOYCOTT THE RESTAURANTS DO NOT EAT THERE, STAY AWAY FROM THEIR ESTABLISHMENTS. PUT PRESSURE ON THE GOVERNMENT. TAKE OUR RIGHTS BACK BECAUSE WE ARE THE GOVERMENT.

  2. Two political parties, both bankrupt of ideas, each critical of the other and neither with a clue on managing assets. Agriculture took a steep nosedive immediately after the 1997 general election and up till now no agriculture minister has demonstrated even a basic understanding of the importance of the rudiments of the agricultural well being to a country. Failures all. The production of boxed milk stopped at Beausejour after the 1997 election. The dennery FARMCO was dissolved and the lands parceled into small lots. Let’s say that madness prevailed after the 1997 general elections. The Banana industry went into a tail spin from which it has not recovered. Ministers of Agriculture, both past and present have failed this country and should be quiet. Local food production is down to almost zero, livestock farmers are frustrated because of the unavailability of ready markets. Feed is expensive and compounds the situation because of low demand. The agriculturesituation is not healthy, the DSH project though ill conceived, cannot and should not be saddled with the totality of the poor agricultural landscape of the country.

  3. I thought St. Lucia was trying to save money on importing food and more self sufficient.
    Getting rid of food process to accommodate a horse track is idiocracy.
    How is this hourse track with facilities going to replace actual food being produced in the country?
    TOURISM IS NOT EVERYTHING.
    PEOPLE HAVE MORE TO OFFER THAN ACCOMMODATING FOREIGNERS!!

  4. Didn’t you see the workers at Beausejour slaughtering stolen from from beausejour right there one Saturday morning at about 2am and you said nothing and took no action against them because the thieves (workers) were SLP supporters? Under whose administration Beausejour farm collapsed? The milk and eggnog production collapsed under the SLP administration. Cows disappeared at Beausejour under your watch. Labour killed Beausejour.

  5. You need to stop lying to St Lucian about Beausejour. Many St Lucians do not know about Beausejour so you are lying to them for political purpose. I know about Beausejour for a very young age. Screwed up under SLP government.

    • STOP LYING, I think you should STOP LYING. SInce many St.Lucians do not know about Beausejour, why don’t you tell us all that you know.

  6. Moses “Musa” Jn Baptiste was the one who destroyed the Beausejour Farm. This is a fact. He is just lying to you labour guy who swallows it.

  7. This ex Min of Agriculture speaks as though the only cattle farm was at beausejour. Beausejour was empty under your watch. There are bigger cattle farms around the island than at beausejour. You killed Beausejour. Stop attempting to mamaguy the people.

  8. If you know the history of Beausejour would know that it was the SLP who destroyed Beausejour farm. Beausejour was once a milk producing and packaging plant. They also produced eggnog. All this went down under an SLP government. Beasejour was almost non functional when it was least for the project. Beausejour staff were stealing and slaughtering right on the compound under SLP and Moses Jn Baptiste was aware of it and did nothing because the thief was a strong SLP supporter. He caught them slaughtering animals one Saturday morning, coming from Grace, at 2 am and did nothing about it. They were slaughtering goats.

  9. Lol at least a few less cows are being slaughtered. I’m sure a creative community could find other ways to live off the land.

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