A new cooperative project which focuses on enhancing the efficiency of fruit and vegetable production-distribution supply chains in Saint Lucia, aims to decrease the net import budgets in seven crops: cabbage, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, bell pepper, pineapple, and tomato. These seven crops are being targeted for various reasons, including the high import bill they attract. The new project will pay particular attention not only to production of fruits and vegetables, but also marketing, in an effort to improve the income of local vegetable and fruit farmers.
According to a statement from the Taiwan Technical Mission, “On the market side, it is crucial to understand and predict the preference of market to increase farmers’ income.”
According to the Technical Mission, it is imperative that local farmers have enough market information to have their planting plans meet market demand, through a well-designed agricultural extension system.
“On the market side, the priority at this stage is to understand market needs,” the statement continued.
In that respect, Chief, Mario Cheng, and specialist, Ai-Lin Chen, from the Taiwan Technical Mission in Saint Lucia’s Marketing Unit and Project Coordinator AdlineEudovic from Ministry of Agriculture have already had meetings both with the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, and the local Produce Manager for Massy Stores to discuss future cooperation as it pertains to the quantities and quality of market demand.
On the production side, Chen and Eudovic have been working together to design and distribute questionnaires for the farm baseline survey which will help process baseline and real-time field information of the selected crops in Saint Lucia. The Taiwan Technical Mission and the Ministry of Agriculture held two training sessions ahead of the survey period which began in May, in order to determine the most ideal method for conducting the survey and securing accurate, real-time field planting information. This nationwide survey is expected to finish in early June.