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The Taiwan Technical Mission has launched a new cooperative project in Saint Lucia aimed at decreasing the country’s import bills on seven crops: cabbage, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, bell pepper, pineapple, and tomato.
“The reason that these seven crops have [been] selected is because not only local farmers can grow them correctly, but also due to the high import bills on these crops,” a Technical Mission press release sent by the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) stated.
According to the Technical Mission, the project aims to improve efficiency of the production and distribution supply-chains of fruits and vegetables in Saint Lucia.
And to boost the income of local farmers and to increase the local consumption of vegetables and fruits, the Technical Mission pointed out that the project will “not only focus on the production side, but the market side” which is “essential”.
“On the market side, it is crucial to understand and predict the preference of market to increase farmers’ income. On the other hand, local farmers should have enough market information to have their planting plans meet market demand through a well-designed agricultural extension system,” the Mission said.
On the market side, the Mission said the priority at this stage is to “understand market needs”.
“Thus, the chief, Mario Cheng, and the specialist, Ai-Lin Chen, from Taiwan Technical Mission in Saint Lucia, Marketing Unit, and the Project Coordinator, Ms. Adline Eudovic from Ministry of Agriculture, had initial meetings, both with SLHTA and the local produce manager for Massy Stores, to discuss the future cooperation, such as the quantities and quality of market demand,” the Mission explained.
On the production side, Chen and Eudovic are conducting a nation-wide survey so that the authorities can gather and understand “real-time information” on the selected crops — cabbage, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, bell pepper, pineapple, and tomato — in Saint Lucia.
The survey was implemented in mid-May and is expected to be completed in early June 2019.
The Taiwan Technical Mission and the Ministry of Agriculture also held two training sessions on the survey “to receive the most accurate real-time field-planting information such as expected yield and expected harvest date of the seven crops”.
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