CFL and Farmers develop Agricultural Sector

Consolidated Foods Ltd (Super J IGA and Mega J) held a meeting with farmers on Wednesday 23 May at Spinners, Union. The meeting is kept on an annual basis where the Directors of CFL together with their contributing farmers would review and discuss achievements and challenges for the previous year and chart the way forward in the mutual interest of both parties.
Andre Chastanet, Managing Director of CFL was not present at the meeting leaving the company’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Sariah Best-Joseph to address the 40 plus famers present. She says her company is committed to the development of the Agricultural sector in St Lucia and boasts her company as the number one supporter of the sector.
Joseph says they are working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and other institutions on the island that provide Agricultural services by assisting schools through HOOPS, the Agriculture in Schools programme and also through the solid relationship which according to her, they have developed with farmers who supply a variety of local fresh produce.
“This relationship is the result of years of confidence, mutual respect and trust,” she said while adding, “We have a better understanding of the challenges you face. Over the years we have introduced a range of measures to help give you the boost that you need. Apart from a guaranteed market for your produce, we also ensure a fair price for your product, timely payments – within a week, sometimes less and we fully support the farmer certification programme of the Ministry of Agriculture and provide preferential pricing for certified farmers.”
Perishables Manager, Dunstan Demille through a powerpoint presentation, presented the farmers with the statistics of the produce consumed over the last two years.
Too many times, Demille said farmers lose out on maximizing their profits on produce because the market is already saturated causing the company in many occasions to sell at a reduced price.
Demille also took some time to encourage farmers to go into production of a number of produce that the company thinks will be of benefit to the island. Some of these produce include, salad beans, vanilla, sweet pepper and pigeon peas among a long list.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Hurbert Emmanuel says the meeting was enlightening and “relieving also to know that a corporate body is playing such a big role in the development of Agriculture especially diversification in St Lucia.”
Emmanuel added that the Ministry of Agriculture appreciates the role in which CFL plays in the advancement of Agriculture in St Lucia and the support of farmers.
“I also want to thank the farmers for the initiative they have taken, they have formed a partnership with CFL and that partnership could only bring benefits and advantages for them. As a Ministry, we are there to create a favourable environment but as a Ministry, we are not into marketing or the selling business and that sort. When farmers can come together with a corporate entity such as CFL.”
The PS says in the past, St Lucia has not been able to do very well in producing other crops other than bananas, this strong bond between farmers and CFL he says, has created the perfect opportunity for current farmers and potential farmers to development the Agricultural sector in St Lucia.

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