On Thursday, 16 June, 2016 banana farmers in the northern regions of Saint Lucia were graced with a visit by H.E. Ray Mou, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to St. Lucia. The visit was arranged by the Project Manager of the Black Sigatoka Management Project (BSMP), Mr. Vincent Yang, and Project Coordinator, Mr. Martin Satney. The team was accompanied by a corps of technical officers of the Black Sigatoka Management Unit (BSMU).
Ambassador Mou noted that the purpose of the visit was to have a face-to-face discussion with banana farmers at the field level and to know better the progress and achievements made to date under the BSMP and, more importantly, to understand the potential expansion capability of the banana farmers.
The visiting party held open talks with local banana farmers who articulated their appreciation for the timely and continuing support provided by the Government of Taiwan. Also, they highlighted the several issues affecting their business, including the need of marketing information. This year Taiwan will contribute EC$2.2 million to help St. Lucia in preventing the banana Black Sigatoka disease.
Ambassador Mou visited farmers in Regions 2 (Babonneau and environs), Region 8 (Deglos, Crownlands and environs) and Region 7 (Roseau Valley). He is expected to continue such farm visits to Region 3 (Mabouya Valley and environs), Region 4 (Micoud) and Region 5 (Vieux Fort North areas).
Farmers anticipate that the Government of Taiwan will sustain the support to Saint Lucia’s banana industry as a whole, to enable the consolidation of the progress and accomplishments made thus far, and to help in the drive towards increasing farm productivity and exports on a sustainable basis.