by Anicia Antoine
The Banana Productivity Improvement Project (BPIP) has been working to increase farmer productivity and revitalize the banana industry in Saint Lucia with a view of restoring farmer confidence. With domestic banana production harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been exacerbated by recent disasters such as Hurricane Erma, Taiwan’s Technical Mission continues to show their support with their most recent cheque donation to the Banana Productivity Improvement Project (BPIP).
Ambassador of Taiwan to Saint Lucia, His Excellency, Peter Chia-yen Chen, said Taiwan will continue to provide assistance to Saint Lucia’s agriculture industry as they work to strengthen their bilateral relationship.
“We continue to support the Banana Productivity Improvement Project and Taiwan is committed to providing reliable assistance and incorporating new innovative technologies to Saint Lucia’s Agricultural Industry,” he said.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development and Food Security, Hon. Alfred Prospere, expressed gratitude on behalf of the people of Saint Lucia to the Government of Taiwan for their significant contribution they have made to the agricultural sector and the country’s overall economic growth.
Minister Prospere noted that a sum of EC$3.2 million dollars has been budgeted for the fiscal year 2021/2022, with EC$500,000 coming from the BPIP revolving fund.
“With the severe and almost complete destruction of our banana fields, this support will go towards rehabilitation of fields, improving drainage, improving farm irrigation, farmer certification and training, pest and disease control, and lessening the dependence on agrochemicals, while eliminating over-reliance on one market and building resilience in the industry.”
Although the BPIP is set to continue within the ministry until March 2022, Minister Prospere reaffirms that the Saint Lucian government, in collaboration with the Taiwanese government, will continue to assist in improving Saint Lucia’s food security and the well-being of Saint Lucian farmers.