In St. Lucia, a robust plan to combat the Black Sigatoka disease is underway. The disease is currently wreaking havoc on the island’s agriculture sector.
That much has been disclosed by officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Production and Rural Development. The plan includes cabinet approved assistance to affected farmers, the destruction of abandoned farms where the disease is deemed prevalent and a public sensitisation campaign.
Speaking on his return from Costa Rica where the issue was the major discussion among Agriculture officials from the Caribbean and the region, Saint Lucia’s representative Honourable Moses Jn. Baptiste explained that the plan will be executed in consensus with industry stakeholders. “We are going to engage farmers and meet with our farmers all around the country to educate them on the disease and get them onboard the eradication plan with us. We are hoping that the eradication of the inactive and abandoned fields will give us some relief in relation to the spread of the Black Sigatoka disease”. A major consultation is also planned for the coming weeks where industry partners will be invited to discuss various issues and chart the way forward for the banana sector.
The Minister says the Black Sigatoka response is being developed in the context of the sustainable remodeling of the Banana Industry. “I am very happy to say that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers are fully supportive of the Black Sigatoka Response Plan. I also want to announced that in a few weeks the Ministry of Agriculture will host a conference on the Banana Industry in Saint Lucia, the conference will seek to explore the banana industry here and what the government and all stakeholders should do to link production to marketing and have a general framework within which the Banana Industry in Saint Lucia will survive.
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