St Lucia: The livestock industry in St Lucia has grown significantly over the years. To strengthen the livestock sector and capitalise on economic and rural development opportunities, the Ministry of Agriculture has received consultancy services from the Caribbean Development Bank to develop a Livestock Master Plan. The plan would include the direction of policies and strategies, creating a roadmap to improve livestock production in the Caribbean Country.
The consultants presented the research completed to department officials at the validation meeting. According to a livestock consultant – Cordia Thompson, and the researchers, the farmers in the sector face challenges with housing, transportation, production costs, and storage.
“They are well-educated of these things, but they need assistance, external intervention to do some hand-holding and take them through with regards to improving their products to satisfy the market. We’re trying to tell them that traceability is important, consumer health is essential, the consumer has to be assured that this is wholesome, healthy meat, and they will buy the local beef.
The sector has great potential for expansion in advancing toward national food security and sovereignty. Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Sharmine Melville-Edwin, explained that the research results reinforced the importance of establishing a meat processing facility to improve the capability of the livestock sector to meet the international standards needed to expand the sector.
“A meat processing facility is fundamental for meeting proper food safety requirements, consumer demands, consumer confidence, and meeting many standards in the sector. It should be best to have a meat processing facility to ensure that you have proper processing facilities, packaging facilities, and transport facilities in the livestock sector,” the Chief Vet Officer reaffirmed that the food security of the country and farmers’ livelihoods remain the top priorities as the Ministry of Agriculture works to improve the livestock sector in St Lucia.