Commerce, Agriculture ministries team up on exports
2 December 2021
With an increasing need to address the vulnerability of Saint Lucia's agriculture sector, a Saint Lucian delegation led by the Minister for Agriculture, Alfred Prospere; and the Minister for Commerce, Emma Hippolyte visited the United Kingdom last week to explore opportunities for export diversification in the UK market.
The delegation met with export stakeholders including representatives of Hotel Chocolat, who committed to working with the Saint Lucian government to expand the country's cocoa production. The delegation also engaged other stakeholders with a view to create jobs, accelerate growth, and find ways to foster foreign direct investment and private sector investment.
Minister Hippolyte said that while there are many opportunities for agriculture, manufacturing, and other services, Saint Lucian producers must ensure that their products meet international quality standards.
“How we produce crops and limiting the use of harsh chemicals was very much a focus of our discussions,” she said. “We also had the opportunity to meet with the High Commissioner of Canada and the UK Prime Minister Trade Envoy, so we discussed trade between the UK and Saint Lucia. We also were able to meet with the minister for transport of QATAR upon his request.”
With the current setbacks in the banana export market, Minister for Agriculture, Prospere emphasized the importance of diversifying exports and expanding manufacturing exports where comparative advantage exists.
“There is still hope, but producers must understand that for business to continue with supermarkets in the UK, quality standards must be met. I want to call on our farmers to ensure that this remains their highest priority.
Minister Prospere pledged the government's support in ensuring that Saint Lucian producers receive the necessary assistance to strengthen their export capabilities in order to take full advantage of opportunities in international markets.