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St Lucia – WUSC partner to improve food security

By Anicia Antoine

CASTRIES, St Lucia – The ministry of agriculture, fisheries, food security and rural development has partnered with the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) for enhanced pest control in Caribbean agriculture.

Sealing a dynamic collaboration, the ministry of agriculture hosted a signing ceremony on August 8, marking a significant partnership with WUSC to drive forward a sub-project dedicated to sustainable agriculture.

At the heart of this collaborative effort is a focus on improving agricultural practices, specifically targeting pest and disease control, while also emphasizing the involvement of women and youth in enhancing the growth of vegetables and root crops.

Permanent secretary in the ministry of agriculture, Barrymore Felicien, highlighted the ministry’s commitment to providing technical expertise, coordination, and capacity-building for stakeholders – particularly producers. Felicien underlined the significance of this collaboration, citing its potential to generate tangible benefits for farmers and individuals involved in capacity-building efforts.

“This collaboration is important as the real gains for farmers and persons who are building their capacity in managing pests and diseases. We know that diseases and pests particularly affect your productivity, your yield, and the quality and standard of crop that you can use and bring to market, hence, this is an aim to improve the standard of produce, the capacity of the farmers, the yield of the farmers, the income of the farmers, and build on their existing practices.”

Country Coordinator for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) of the SAC Project, Nadia Pacquette-Anselm, said:

“This initiative is a crucial component of Canada’s Caribbean Regional Development Program, exemplifying Canada’s commitment to fostering socio-economic development, climate resilience, and food security in Saint Lucia and across the wider Caribbean region.”

Anselm also highlighted the critical role of collaborative partnerships in driving progress beyond conventional practices, leading to the adoption of innovative research, climate-resilient techniques and technology in the agricultural sector.

“By capitalizing on inert expertise within the ministry for extension support services, we are trusting that we can empower groups within agricultural market systems to focus on sustainable, climate-resilient agriculture. We aim, of course, to enhance equitable access to food services, knowledge, and participation in this initiative. We trust that through this initiative we will improve farmers’ ability to manage pests and diseases leading to higher yields, and improved product quality. We also trust that through this initiative we will understand why environmentally friendly pest-and-disease control methods contribute to the sustainability and resilience of Saint Lucia’s agricultural sector.”

The collaboration between the ministry of agriculture and WUSC Caribbean signals a united effort toward achieving sustainable agriculture, elevating food security, and advancing economic well-being across the Caribbean. As this partnership takes root, it is anticipated to yield far-reaching benefits, ultimately contributing to a more resilient and prosperous agricultural landscape.

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