In a celebration of World Food Day 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture, supported by the Taiwan Technical Mission, this past Sunday hosted a Cocoa Festival in the town of Soufriere. Cocoa enthusiasts and the wider public gathered to celebrate the country’s rich cocoa heritage through a wide array of activities, including live cooking demonstrations, and local musical entertainment.
Visitors had the opportunity to sample and purchase various cocoa-based products, from exquisite chocolates to cocoa-infused culinary delights. Parliamentary Representative for Soufriere, Hon. Emma Hippolyte says cocoa has been a cornerstone for development in Soufriere, providing economic opportunities, preserving cultural heritage, and contributing to the overall prosperity of the community.
“ One of the things that we have to do in a very big way is to expand the coho acreage, in suffering. So I am very pleased at the projects that we have within the Ministry of Agriculture and supported by the Taiwan mission to cause us to expand our acreage for Cocoa because the quality of cocoa that we have here in St. Lucia is one of the top quality cocoons. So let us appreciate what we have. And let us ensure that we protect that crop.”
Recognizing the valuable collaboration between the Taiwan Technical Mission and Saint Lucia’s agricultural sector, Ambassador Peter Chia-Yen Chen of the Republic of China (Taiwan) expressed his government’s and people’s continued support in moving the agriculture sector forward.
“I vividly remember that in late December of last year, the Taiwan government extended our funding support to the Government of Saint Lucia in implementing my pivotal national development projects. Among them was the Cocoa Sector Enhancement Project towards improving the well-being of the people of St Lucia. Today, we stay here not only to celebrate St. Lucia’s rich cocoa heritage but also to promote local products and sustainable agriculture practices.”
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Food Security and Rural Development, Barrymore Felicien, explains that the Cocoa Festival underscores the importance of local agriculture in ensuring food and nutrition security.
“Our aim is to align consumer preferences and buying choices to local rather than imported products. In the estimates of expenditure 2023 2024 The government of St. Lucia has approved $1.4 million for the cocoa sector enhancement project. This year the Ministry of Agriculture will rehabilitate the bath nursery in Soufriere to facilitate the propagation of over 10,000 seedlings which will be sold at a subsidized price to farmers registered with the project. We will also be assisting cocoa farmers with pest and disease management and pruning of cocoa trees later this year. Cocoa is in high demand locally and internationally and therefore is one of the chosen areas for the Ministry of Agriculture to increase exports. ”
The flourishing cocoa industry, along with ongoing ministry efforts within the sector, is expected to significantly enhance food and nutrition security and safeguard the health and well-being of the citizens of Saint Lucia, as highlighted by the Ministry of Agriculture’s cocoa festival.