Agriculture Minister, Moses Jn Bap­tiste, has said that he is pleased with the performance of the sector, despite a few downsides.

“We have seen agriculture increase value added by seven percent in this year’s estimates and seen double digit growth in almost every area,” he said, nothing that there was a slight decrease in chicken and fish landings.

Jn Baptiste said that the progress now recorded in terms of sales to hotels and supermarkets, has a lot to do with efforts made to standardize the operations of farmers. He explained that as a result of the long-running farmer certifi­cation program, farmers are more aware of what they need to do to produce quality food; and that there is a greater awareness of standards, due largely to the work of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards to develop product standards for the agriculture industry.

The minister opined that Saint Lucia can look forward to an increase in the consumption of safe, healthy local food, and an increase in the number of businesses in agri­culture. He spoke of an increase in the use of local food in the school feeding program, and the need for emphasis on essen­tial oils.

The minister said that millions of dollars plus employment can also be had from chicken pro­duction.