Saint Lucia: Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ernest Hillarie shared glimpse of the event he attended as the Minister responsible for Tourism and Investment.
Hillarie stated, “After another long night at the Sab enjoying Calypso Finals, I had to attend another event as Minister responsible for Tourism and Investment at 11 am. This one was going to be exciting for the diversification of our tourism product and economic development. It was true to expectations. I was joined by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and the Chairman of ISL.”
He further stated that an investment company led by Olmedo Villa has started, or should I say recommence, commercial coffee production in Saint Lucia, specifically in Migny, Soufriere (Fond St Jacques). The plan is to develop a unique Saint Lucian speciality blend for commercial purposes. It is expected that about 13,000 plants with be cultivated by 2024. The coffee will be called ‘La Verrier’. Additionally, the coffee estate will host a museum on the history of coffee production in Saint Lucia. A museum on coffee production in Saint Lucia? Yes, Saint Lucia.
“Villa indicated that he had done extensive research on coffee production worldwide and in Saint Lucia, particularly. Here’s the summary of what was presented by Villa. Read this carefully. Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia, then moved to Yemen, then Indonesia and then eventually to Martinique and Saint Lucia. All the coffee grown in the West Hemisphere came from Martinique,” Deputy Prime Minister added.
Furthermore, the post by minister read in the late 1700s, Saint Lucia and Martinique accounted for half of all coffee consumed in Europe. Yes, half!!!
Saint Lucia had about 9 million coffee plants in the 1800s. Mostly grown around Zenon, Rablot and Ravine Clair, about 300 acres. The largest producer was the Verrier family, hence the name of the coffee.
Migny has extraordinary conditions for coffee production – it is cool, shaded, volcanic soil and is infused with citrus and spices (nutmeg and cinnamon).
If all goes well, imagine our own special brand of coffee with a visitor experience added. Saint Lucia Government will be actively supporting this venture and creating new opportunities for economic diversification.
Now time to head to WOW, exclaimed the minister.