The Third Stakeholder Project Completion and Evaluation Workshop of the Saint Lucia-Taiwan Black Sigatoka Management Project was held at Orchid Centre, Union Propagation Station on March, 29 2017.
At the ceremony, His Excellency Douglas Shen, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia gave assurance that his Government would continue supporting efforts to revitalize the banana industry in Saint Lucia. Ambassador Shen said, “Last week, on behalf of the Government of Republic of China (Taiwan), I handed over the Aquaculture Project, which made Saint Lucia the leading aquaculture country in the Eastern Caribbean region, to the Government of Saint Lucia. Today, I am more than happy to witness again another successful completion of our bilateral agriculture cooperation project, Banana Black Sigatoka Management Project (BSMP).”
Ambassador Shen noted that the project has not only effectively controlled the banana disease, but has already doubled the growth in the export of Saint Lucia’s bananas. The successful implementation of the BSMP programme has become a WTO case study, currently serving as a model for international agriculture cooperation.
John Calixte, Permanent Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, spoke on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture, Honourable Ezechiel Joseph, and expressed that the Government of Saint Lucia was pleased with the positive impact of the BSMP project in controlling and managing the black sigatoka disease. He stated further that the project created the platform for farmers and other industry stakeholders to focus on the recovery and revitalization of the banana industry, with emphasis on increasing farm yields and productivity levels.
Attending the workshop were representatives of producer organisations, exporters and supporting agencies of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives. Participants overwhelmingly expressed their appreciation of the project, and called on the governments of Saint Lucia and Taiwan to continue their support for the agricultural sector, given the undeniable impact such investments have on employment and rural economy in particular.