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St. Lucia’s dependence on imported foods continues to increase as local production falls

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Local farmers are reported to be producing less crops in some areas.

St. Lucia is increasingly becoming a nation that can not feed itself with a number of traditional crops out of production.

That’s the stark reality confronting the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Production and Rural Development.

Consolidated Foods Ltd (CFL), the largest purchaser of local produce on the island, has sent an urgent plea to the authorities.

Deputy Managing Director Martin Dorville says the company over the years has witnessed a decline in the production of certain crops. This has led officials to consider importing from the region.

Statistical data from the Food and Agriculture Organization indicates that in 1992, 20 percent of St.Lucia’s population was food insecure. By 2010/2012 that figured increased to 24.6 percent. Agriculture Minister Moses Jn.Baptiste says the situation is worrying.

CFL, through its registered farmers programme, is continuing its contribution to food development. The company, which operates the largest food retail chain here, Super J Supermarkets, increased its purchase of local produce.

The efforts by CFL have been applauded by Chief Nutritionist in the Ministry of Health Lisa Hunt Mitchell, who has implored farmers to avoid the use of pesticides and other chemicals in the production of crops, as this has an adverse effect on health.

She has also called on St. Lucians to buy and eat local.

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9 comments

  1. Someone you are blaming CFL and Marketing Board for the lack of home grown local produce when it is the entire population that have to be blamed?Mathematically do you know how much it costs to import those produce?and by the way is it much healthier?These are the reasons why St.Lucia tops the region for all those chronic diseases.Just remember when you walk into the supermarket it is the poor who are finding it hard to make ends meet where as the retailers are laughing and making a profit and plainly speaking St.Lucians are just LAZY.Buying locally grown produce you are supporting the farmers and also helping your country economically.

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    • im blaming them for not encouraging the farmers by devaluing their work, then profiting from it, they buy the produce dirt cheap and turn around and sell it exuberant prices, and we accept it because hey it's better than nothing, definitely we are lazy, but what encouragement is there to go into farming, as for importing is it cheaper yes it is, example the poultry industry, all meat importers by law have to have 30% of their chickens bought locally and import the other 70% imported,and if the local farmer cant meat the quota they are allowed to import the other 30%, what these places are doing now are paying the farmers not to produce chickens and saying they could not meet the demand so they can import 100% of the meat.

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  2. STOOPID consecutive governments cannot see pass their noses.Independence is when you have food security. The same tourism dollar goes back to buy food which we can produce...stupidity in the highest order SMH...

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  3. It's a shame! even the comments indicates how difunctional things are on the Island

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  4. CFL and marketing board are themselves to blame for this, when they pay these farmers peanuts for their produce and turn around and sell it top dollar, i know farmers that lost interest in farming for this same reason, example sweet peppers they would buy the peppers 2-3 bucks a pound from the farmer and turn around and sell it 10-15 bucks per pound how fair is that?

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    • If the 2 to 3 bucks per pound paid to the farmer cannot maintain a continuous production of the sweet pepper, then you have a sound argument. However, if the issue is how much the supermarkets sells a farmer’s produce after it have been sold to them, then I am afraid I cannot agree with you. Personally I would rather make a little money than no money at all.

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  5. More assistance for farmers you say. Don't they have enough already

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  6. this is ridiculous, we are a bloody island with fertile soil, we can remedy this i know we can, to hell with the politicians (both yellow and red), Morgy said it best them guys eh for we.............. diversification my ass they talking it but as usual, the same way we can invest in our culture and big main stage shows(Jazz) we saw with a little careful planing and strategic increase in funds made available to farmers we can do it . but i know WHO CARES, RIGHT!!!!!

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    • J.V., there is no doubt that the authorities must share some blame for this, but in my opinion the majority of the blame rest on the shoulders of the people. Yes, the citizens of this fertile land as you call it. It is not a secret that unemployment remains at very high levels in St Lucia; and on every occasion given the people (men and women alike) always complain about not getting work. On any given day one can take a drive throughout the various communities and one of the most obvious commonality would be the vast amount of people sitting around doing nothing. Why not take the imitative and plant some vegetable, crop, etc on the numerous acres of farm land that have remained empty since the downfall of the “green gold”. Apparently, the argument of no market for the produce is unsubstantiated if one accepts the comments by CFL. Just my opinion.

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