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(PRESS RELEASE) – A ceremony was held on the 12th of September at the Grande Riviere Secondary School in Dennery, to mark the handing over of coconut trees resistant to lethal yellowing developed in Mexico to St Lucian farmers.
The Ambassador of Mexico, H.E. Oscar Esparza-Vargas, IICA Representative to the ECS, Mr. John King, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. John Calixte, were present at the event, together with other pertinent officials, farmers and students of the Grande Riviere Secondary School.
This project was spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture of St Lucia and the Centre for Scientific Investigation of Yucatan of Mexico (CICY), with the collaboration of the Embassy of Mexico and IICA. These coconut plants resistant to lethal yellowing were developed through tissue culture processes (not GMO) by CICY in Mexico and brought to St Lucia to assist with the prevention of the spread of the disease and also with the continued advancement of coconut cultivation on the island.
In his discourse to those present, the Ambassador of Mexico highlighted the current flourishing of the coconut industry in St Lucia and the creation of employment which it presents for local farmers. Additionally, he warned about the threat posed by lethal yellowing to the growth of the coconut industry and the livelihood of coconut growers. In that regard, the 2,300 coconut trees will provide a significant safeguard for the industry against the plague in the future, as well as provide highly productive coconut varieties.
This project is just one of many areas in which Mexico is collaborating with St Lucia. Additionally, the Mexican government promote infrastructure projects, such as the construction of a water system in Dennery North, and of the morgue, ambulance and security components of the St Jude hospital, which have now been built and will be operational shortly.
In addition to infrastructure and agriculture, other spheres of Mexican cooperation in St Lucia include education, tourism and sports. In his closing remarks, Ambassador Esparza-Vargas emphasised Mexico’s desire to continue strengthening its close ties of cooperation and friendship with the Government and people of Saint Lucia.