Press Release:– Saint Lucian farmers are being urged to adopt the hoop greenhouse method of farming to not only reduce the effects of climate change on their livelihoods, but also increase their production.
The advice came during a field visit on Wednesday this week by officials from the Taiwan
Technical Mission (TTM) and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural
Development, Hon. Alfred Prospere.
Hon. Prospere and the Taiwan Technical Mission officials paid a field visit to Micoud, where
farmer Murkey Xavier is already realizing better crop yields after introducing hoop greenhouses to his farm.
The 24 hoop greenhouse units on Xavier’s farm are each 6.5 feet by 60 feet in dimension. While Xavier bought the materials for the hoop greenhouses, technicians from the Taiwan Technical Mission provided assistance in setting them up.
Xavier is already planting watermelons and cantaloupes using the system. Hon. Prospere believes more farmers need to follow Xavier’s example.
“What I saw today is a clear demonstration of interest by this farmer, and I would like to see this emulated by other farmers in Saint Lucia,” Hon. Prospere said. “It is the direction in which I want our farmers to go. Climate change is impacting us, and we have to move in a direction that will ensure that climate-smart agriculture is the way to go.”
Hon. Prospere noted that while diversification remains a key component of the agriculture sector, there are many new technologies in agriculture that can also encourage farmers to remain in the sector and make money.
“I am always pressing on the fact that our farmers should be in agriculture to make money and should not see agriculture as a hobby,” he said. “This is the only way we can take agriculture to the next level and ensure that we are self-sufficient in the production of various crops and commodities in Saint Lucia.”
Benefits of using hoop greenhouses include a longer growing season, protection of crops from harsh weather, pest prevention, and more crop options.
The Taiwan Technical Mission plays a very important role in assisting Saint Lucian farmers in implementing better farming practices and offering marketing of their produce.