by Anicia Antoine, Ministry of Agriculture
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources, and Cooperatives has officially opened a Diagnostic Facility in Union.
As the demand for agriculture continues to expand through the growing needs of society, so does the constant threat of the introduction, establishment, and spread of pests and diseases, as well as climate change and praedial larceny.
The newly established National Agricultural Diagnostic Facility will enable production challenges to be approached scientifically through the diagnostic expertise of the laboratory system, thereby strengthening value chains that provide improved access to more affordable, better quality goods.
Director of Agricultural Services, Dr. Auria King Cenac said the establishment of the diagnostic facility will play a vital role in the industrial and socio-economic development of Saint Lucia.
“I want us to take full advantage of the opportunity to efficiently and timely diagnose diseases that can impact our socio-economic well being. The ability to control, contain and eradicate a disease with little economic impact is as a result of early detection, warning, and action,” she said.
Director of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards, Mr. Verne Emmanuel, informs the metrology lab was awarded accreditation to ISO IEC 17025 General Requirements, for the Competence and Calibration Laboratories on Nov. 2.
“IOS17 specifies the general requirements to carry out our tests including sampling. It covers testing and calibration performed including standard and non-standard methods.”
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Cooperatives, Hon. Ezechiel Joseph, looks forward to the benefits the facility will provide.
“Food safety is critical, food safety is something that we have been speaking about fequently, and I’m sure with the operation of this facility we shall be able to produce the type of products that our consumers will have confidence in.
The National Agricultural Diagnostic Facility is funded by the European Union under the ATP/ BAM programme.
Headline photo courtesy Department of Agriculture