Former Minister of Agriculture Moses Jn Baptiste believes Saint Lucia can generate at least EC$200 million “worth of economic activity” through local food production and marketing in the short to medium term.
Jn Baptiste made that statement on his official Facebook page today, Oct. 16 as he observes World Food Day.
The international theme for this year’s observance is “Our Actions Our Future: Healthy Diets for A #ZeroHunger World”.
Jn Baptiste noted that the theme focuses on “our eating habits” and fits into the need for Saint Lucians to consume more locally-made food, which is not only healthier but will contribute to economic growth.
“The suggested changes in our eating habits from processed imported food to fresh safe and nutritious local food is positive,” he wrote. “While this idea is not new, many experts now agree that our actions where food is concerned will certainly determine our future.
“Local food production and marketing is a guaranteed way of increasing the positive health outcomes of Saint Lucians and also our economic fortunes. There is much which can be done and must be done in the area of marketing of local food and we must all strive to improve the quantity and quality of local food. Increasing employment especially among the young is a major benefit, while the challenges of many of our non-communicable diseases(NCD’s) can be reduced tremendously,” he explained.
“I believe that there is at least $200 million EC dollars worth of economic activity which can be generated in the short to medium term through local food production and marketing. Local food consumption and planned actions to keep nudging our food preferences toward safe and nutritious local food can be a big part of this thrust,” the former minister added.
The parliamentary representative for Vieux Fort North also acknowledged the hard work of local food producers, wishing all Saint Lucians a “Happy World Food Day”.
“I salute our local food producers, processors, and all Saint Lucians who are creating and sustaining local Agri-businesses. The technical and professional staff of the various ministries that are connected to local food production and the staff of all the agencies who provide us with guidance and resources are special,” Jn Baptiste said.
CLICK HERE for more information on World Food Day, which is spearheaded annually by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.