New Initiative Launched To Boost Saint Lucia Cocoa Production

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By Anicia Antoine: In an effort to combat the cocoa sector’s low levels of production and productivity, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources, and Cooperatives has launched the Cocoa Sector Enhancement Project.

The Cocoa Sector Enhancement Project is geared toward the rehabilitation of cocoa farm holdings, transplanting of unproductive plants, and increasing of acreages with the overall goal of increasing cocoa bean production while improving resilience to climate change and the most common diseases that impact cocoa plants.

Under the project, farmers are given the opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that facilitates the collection of data including the status of cocoa plants, production, sale of cocoa beans as well as prices of the produce.

One of the tangible outcomes of the CSEP programme is the additional subsidization of cocoa trees at $2.00 per plant.

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Head of Agricultural Region 6 and Interim Coordinator of the Cocoa Sector Enhancement Project (CSEP), Eloy Alexis, notes that the initiatives aim to address issues such as low return, low market penetration, and cross-cutting issues including insufficient data on cocoa production.

“Basically the project stands to revitalize and expand the cocoa subsector. As such, a number of initiatives have been targeted such as propagation of seedlings for farmers.”

The Department of Agriculture has also collaborated with the Cocoa Research Centre at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad to host quality analysis and sensory analysis training. Mr Alexis adds that the department is also looking into the possibility of forming a Marketing Cooperation for cocoa farmers.

“Via the route of cooperation we can give farmers greater returns because any profit which is derived from the cooperation, this profit will be repatriated to the farmers.”

Farmers interested in purchasing cocoa plants through the CSEP should contact their local extension office. The plants will be available at the Bathe Propagation Station in Soufriere, near Myers Bridge.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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