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Taiwanese Ambassador visits banana farmers in Mabouya Valley

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PRESS RELEASE – His Excellency Raymond Mou, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia, accompanied by a technical team from the Taiwanese Technical Mission (TTM) based in Saint Lucia, visited and toured the Agricultural Region 3 (Mabouya Valley and environs) on December 7th 2016.

Ambassador Mou was accompanied by the Honourable Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, Senator Jimmy Henry.

The purpose of the field visit was, to realize the various challenges and issues confronting banana farmers in this important agricultural region after storm Matthews damage late September and to examine the cropping options and opportunities which may be relevant to the bilateral Fruit and Vegetable Demonstration and Extension Cooperation Project (Phase 2). Moreover, the visit provided the opportunity to identify appropriate farms/ sites for demonstration purposes under the Project.

The Fruit and Vegetable Demonstration and Extension Project is a collaborative initiative between the Government of Saint Lucia and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), designed to improve the quality and quantity of selected fruits and vegetables for the domestic market. Phase two of that project seeks to focus on banana farmers who wish to consider alternative crops and may not wish to continue banana production for the UK or regional markets.

The touring party met with several farmers and observed the many land drainage challenges and other farm management-related problems faced by banana, plantain and non-banana farmers of the Region.

The touring party visited farming communities such as La Resource, Compere, Richfond and Theobalds. Farmers were very appreciative of the visit. They highlighted concerns about the marketing of bananas and other agricultural produce, praedial larceny, drainage, agro-business financing and timely availability of farm inputs.

Also, Management and field personnel of the Black Sigatoka Management Project (BSMP) accompanied Ambassador Mou on the tour. The BSMP is funded by the Government of Saint Lucia and the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan.

Ambassador Mou thanked the farmers for pleasantly receiving him and discussing their issues. He extended his gratitude to the Senator, Hon. Jimmy Henry and the technical team of the Black Sigtaoka Management Project in facilitating the visit.

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