Saint Lucian agro-industry producers are in for much needed upgrade and investment to help them sustain their livelihoods in that field.
Now eight months into an eighteen-month-long project that will create new export opportunities for local agricultural producers, Export Saint Lucia (ESL) is working closely with local partners to ensure all is in place for its successful implementation.
Launched in July 2022, the CARIFORUM-EU EPA and CSME Standby Facility funded project is titled “Enhancing the Capacity of Stakeholders in the Agriculture Sector to Supply Quality Products in New Markets”. It will ensure Saint Lucian farmers and pack houses operators are well-equipped to export to new markets including several ports within the European Union. Export Saint Lucia’s efforts are supported locally by the Department of Agriculture, Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC), Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS), and the Ministry of Health.
At this project stage, Export Saint Lucia has engaged the SALCC who is currently developing a web-based training programme on Good Agricultural Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards to be delivered to farmers and pack house operators across Saint Lucia. Through a series of face-to-face sessions, farmers will become familiar with the aforementioned standards, an essential step toward exporting internationally.
Additionally, both ESL and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) recently placed a call for consultants to express interest in administering the certification of select farms and pack houses in Good Agricultural Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices respectively. A separate call was placed for expressions of interest in providing engineering and project management consultancy services for the upgrade of the packhouse facilities.
An evaluation committee will soon review candidates and make a selection.
“The entire team at Export Saint Lucia is extremely excited to get the wheels of this project in motion. Like our other projects and programmes, this initiative will have a positive impact on local producers, allowing them to export more, and inevitably record greater profits. Export Saint Lucia works toward increasing the value and volume of exports and knows that capacity-building projects like this are crucial to achieving this mandate,” says ESL’s Chief Executive Officer Sunita Daniel.
Training for farmers is expected to be delivered in the next quarter, while other components of the project like the acquisition of vital infrastructure including a refrigerated truck will take place later this year.