Today Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony and his delegation commenced a hectic round of meetings in Taipei, Taiwan.
His first meeting was held with officials of the Council of Agriculture and the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), to assess cooperation between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Saint Lucia and to explore areas for further collaboration between the two countries.
During the visit to the Council of Agriculture, Dr Anthony thanked the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for the invaluable contribution made to Saint Lucia in the agricultural sector over the years.
Dr. Anthony noted the introduction of new fruits, vegetables and flowers as well as the support given by the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the fight against Black Sigatoka.
Martin Satney, who is the consultant on the Black Sigatoka Project, also thanked the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for the assistance received over the last year and a half. He emphasised that Saint Lucia needed greater support in the area of research and technical training, as it is vital that the Ministry of Agriculture is equipped to identify and manage such diseases at an earlier stage.
The Council of Agriculture agreed to provide technical assistance aimed at building capacity in diagnostic research which will enable the Ministry of Agriculture to provide the necessary support services for the diversification of the Industry. They also proposed to provide further support through an exchange programme.
Dr Anthony also thanked the ICDF for the financial assistance given to the Black Sigatoka Unit in Saint Lucia. The teams exchanged views on what can be done to improve the timeliness of feedback and the disbursement of funds, which is very critical in eradicating this devastating disease.
The ICDF applauded the new model adopted by the Government of Saint Lucia to create a separate unit for the management of Black Sigatoka, as it allows for greater monitoring and more effective processing of the assistance received.