Taiwan assists Saint Lucia's banana farmers
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
by Ministry of Agriculture

The Taiwan Technical Mission (ICDF) on Wednesday last week handed over some 38 pack houses to local banana farmers.

The facilities, which have been under construction during the past month, with funds from the ICDF, is part of a post-Tropical Storm Kirk program, designed to ensure that more banana farmers obtain Global GAP certification, thereby gaining access to the international banana market.

In a short ceremony held at Troumasse, Micoud to hand over the first 15 of the 38 pack houses to farmers, Mr. Mario Cheng, head of the Taiwan Technical Mission, said his government was pleased to assist the Banana Productivity Project of the Ministry of Agriculture, and by extension local banana farmers, to obtain Global GAP certification. The certification means that more local farmers can now sell their fruits on the international market. Mr. Cheng also urged the farmers to continue to produce good quality fruits and apply good agricultural practices at all times.

In attendance at the ceremony was Technical Expert Johnston Wu and staff of the Banana Productivity Improvement Project.

Meanwhile, the staff of the Banana Productivity Improvement Project are now equipped to conduct on-the-spot assessment of soils, thanks to the financial support of the ICDF. On Friday the Taiwan Technical Mission donated some eight soil testing kits and augers to the Banana Productivity Improvement Project. The supply of these kits means that local banana farmers no longer have to send soil samples to a laboratory to determine the nutrient and pH (acidity) status of their soil. The BPIP officers are now equipped to conduct these tests on the farm and relay the results to the farmer immediately.

In accepting the kits from ICDF and Mr. Mario Cheng, BPIP Project Manager Kerde Severin thanked the Taiwanese government for its contribution to not only the banana industry, but to Saint Lucia’s agriculture sector in general. He assured Mr. Cheng that the kits will be put to good use and will help local farmers improve productivity now that they no longer have to wait long periods for lab results.

The soil testing kits means that corrective measures to address soil deficiencies on farms can now be done swiftly.