Laborie Farmers Market highlights community’s entrepreneurial spirit

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St. Luica – The recent hosting of the Laborie Farmers’ Market has come in for high praise from organizers, participants and patrons as the southwestern community continues to promote its attractiveness.

The Laborie Farmers’ Market was held on Friday, March 22, 2024, and featured a wide array of items and services produced by residents from Laborie and neighboring communities. Items included ground provisions, vegetables, fruits, coconut oil, wines, flours, castor oil, sea moss, black pudding, cocoa sticks, meals, local juices, cosmetics, clothing, ornaments, and jewelry.

Officials from the Ministry of Health were also present and conducted chronic diseases risk assessment, blood sugar testing, blood pressure testing, and body mass index (BMI). The Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) also participated at the Farmers’ Market, with booths that featured ICT, food preparation, and health information.

Other highlights included live music performed by the Laborie Steel Pan Orchestra and schoolchildren, and stilt walkers.

The event was a tripartite collaboration among the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), Laborie/Augier Constituency Council, and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development, and aimed to showcase the community’s businesses.

During the official opening, H.E. Peter Chia-Yen Chen, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, expressed gratitude to Hon. Baptiste, Minister for External Affairs, International Trade, Civil Aviation and Diaspora Affairs and Parliamentary Representative for Laborie/Augier, for his staunch support to all the bilateral cooperation projects and strong ties of friendship between Taiwan and Saint Lucia.

Ambassador Chen also commended the farmers and producers for converting their creativity to sustainable livelihoods. He noted that the Farmers’ Market speaks volumes about the participants’ rich agricultural heritage, entrepreneurial spirit, and collective commitment to fostering local economy.

“Today’s Farmers’ Market is not merely a marketplace; it is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of local farmers and producers,” said Ambassador Chen. “As we browse through the array of booths on display, let’s continue to support local farmers and producers, and cultivate where future of prosperity and sustainability go hand in hand.”

He further stated that: “Together, the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Government of Saint Lucia will continue to work hand in hand to support local communities and business.”

Hon. Alva Baptiste thanked Ambassador Chen and the Government of Taiwan for their staunch support of Saint Lucia, referencing the new Taiwan-sponsored ICT Centre which will be officially opened in the constituency soon. He said his representation of the constituency is one he takes seriously.

“I knew when I came into elective politics, I had purchased a one-way ticket to a place of sacrifice,” said Hon. Baptiste. “But I will utilize that time to ensure that I maximize the development of the Laborie/Augier constituency. I will continue to embrace support from the Government, but also initiate things on our own that will chart the true and real development of our constituency.”

Hon. Baptiste said the Laborie Farmers’ Market is being used as a catalyst for meaningful transformation in the community, including offering visitors to the community a unique community experience.

“The Laborie Farmers’ Market is just the commencement of another calendar event that will grow and grow and organize this constituency to the point that when visitors come to Laborie, anything they will purchase in the form of souvenirs and other items, will be made in Laborie,” he explained.

At the close of the opening ceremony, Hon. Baptiste was also in for a surprise when Ambassador Chen presented him with a cake for his birthday, which Hon. Baptiste celebrated two days prior. Both Ambassador Chen and Hon. Baptiste joined in cutting the cake and toasted to their friendship before touring the booths to engage with participants.

The Laborie Farmers’ Market attracted many schoolchildren, residents, visitors, many of whom expressed that the event should remain on the community’s calendar of activities.

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