GIS – Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, Hon. Ezechiel Joseph, has cautioned that farming practices and the indiscriminate use of natural resources must change if the country is to better withstand natural disasters and improve food security.
The minister’s comments were made in anticipation of World Food Day to be observed globally on Oct. 16, under the theme “Climate is Changing; Food and Agriculture Must Too.”
According to the minister, Saint Lucia over the past five years, has experienced a series of natural disasters that negatively impacted livelihoods, food security and the country’s overall economic development.
“The lesson learned from these experiences is that it cannot be business as usual,” he said. “We cannot continue to use our natural resources the way we do. Our farming practices must change.”
“We must protect our river banks. We have to be more discriminatory in the areas where we choose to farm. Our food and agricultural policies must change. We must implement agricultural practices that build resilience to climate change. Therefore, managing climate change is critical if we are to achieve sustainable agricultural development.”
The minister outlined several practices that can help reduce the impact of climate change in Saint Lucia.
“In light of the new challenges associated with climate change, new consideration must include the development of structures that would enable the agriculture sector to adapt to natural disasters, the modification of our cropping patterns, adopting agricultural practices that reflect an awareness of changing climatic conditions, and the implementation of sustainable land management practices to avoid erosion and the loss of fertility.”
Minister Joseph added that World Food Day provides an opportunity to reflect and examine how vulnerable Saint Lucia is to climate change.