The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) recently assigned Taiwan Banana expert Dr. Chih-Ping Chao, director of Taiwan Banana Research Institute (TBRI) to visit Saint Lucia from May 2 to 6, 2017 for the evaluation of a new banana cooperation project, “Rehabilitate Banana Production and Productivity in Saint Lucia”. During his stay, Dr. Chao is meeting the officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, the stakeholders of the banana industry and local farmers to better understand the needs of the Saint Lucian banana industry.
The new project is estimated to cost USD 5.1 million and will be executed over a four-year period. During the first year, the major focus is expected to be on restoring the industry to pre-Matthew condition and increasing productivity on the existing acreages. Thereafter, attention will be placed on expanding current acreages, building resilience to climate change, establishing sustainable financing mechanisms, building capacity and strengthening disease control measures.
Taiwanese ambassador H. E. Douglas Shen welcomed Dr. Chao’s visit and noted that the government of Taiwan cooperated with the government of Saint Lucia on the Black Sigatoka Management Project (BSMP) in the past five years, and successfully doubled the growth in the export of Saint Lucia’s bananas. Realizing that the banana industry plays an important role in the economy of Saint Lucia, the two governments have decided to continue their cooperation. Ambassador Shen firmly believes that through joint efforts of the two countries, the capability and confidence of the local banana industry will be greatly improved, and high-quality produce will once again bring fruitful business to farmers in Saint Lucia.
TBRI was established in 1970, funded and supervised by the government of Taiwan. The main purposes of TBRI are to promote production and quality improvement of bananas and to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of Taiwan’s banana industry. For the past five years TBRI has provided technical assistance to Saint Lucian banana farmers through the BSMP and will continue its support for the new banana-related project in Saint Lucia.