(ZIZ News) An ongoing workshop on crop quality continued on Wednesday with sessions to update farmers on the progress of several components of the Vegetable, Fruit, and Upland Crop Quality and Safety Improvement Project.
Both the workshop and Vegetable, Fruit, Upland Crop Quality and Safety Improvement Project are being held in conjunction with the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to enhance the marketability of local produce.
Resident Taiwanese Ambassador, His Excellency George Gow Wei Chiou said the project is unique to St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The Vegetable, Fruit, Upland Crop Quality and Safety Improvement Project is the first of its kind in the Caribbean region. Different from the traditional mode of agricultural production, this new project will enhance the food security and increase agricultural production. The change means that agricultural cooperation between the Taiwan Technical Mission and the famers of St. Kitts-Nevis has reached a new era,” he said.
Ambassador Chiou also gave an update on the facilities being built under the project.
“An 800 square foot compose demonstration site has just been completed at Needsmust Farm in March, which can produce 24 tons of compost per year. The construction of a soil fertility analysis laboratory and a pesticide residue detection laboratory is to be complete this month and begin to provide service to farmers in June,” he said.
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Eugene Hamilton said he has high hopes for the project and its impact on the local agriculture sector.
“Research has shown that among the core challenges of our farmers is low product safety, a phenomenon that has the potential to impact marketing negatively. By helping farmers help you, all of us, to improve crop quality, the volume of production and the sales would be impacted positively,” he said.
The Vegetable, Fruit and Upland Crop Quality and Safety Improvement Project took effect with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2014.
The project is expected to run until December 31, 2017 with total funding of just less than US$3.2 million.