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.