Gov’t seeks as­sis­tance fol­low­ing pas­sage of Trop­i­cal Storm Matthew

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

CAS­TRIES: HE ST Lu­cia gov­ern­ment says it is seek­ing as­sis­tance from re­gional and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions and gov­ern­ments for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, which was bat­tered by Trop­i­cal Storm Matthew ear­lier this week.

“We are go­ing to put all our ef­forts into re­vi­tal­is­ing the agri­cul­ture sec­tor as quickly as pos­si­ble,” Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet told re­porters as he toured the ar­eas last Fri­day.

Of­fi­cials es­ti­mate that the dam­age to the sec­tor caused by the storm could be as high as 80 per cent, and Chas­tanet said he has al­ready held dis­cus­sions with sev­eral agen­cies to aid in the re­cov­ery ef­forts.

“The min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture and I have spo­ken at length about the way for­ward, and this gov­ern­ment has al­ready had dis­cus­sions with the Caribbean De­vel­op­ment Bank and some coun­tries that have

TThe GOES East satel­lite im­age pro­vided by the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion shows Hur­ri­cane Matthew mak­ing its way through the east­ern Caribbean. al­ready been as­sist­ing us with agri­cul­ture.

“We have made very good in­roads with the United King­dom mar­ket and the su­per­mar­ket chains there. We will also be test­ing out the French mar­ket in Jan­uary with 3,000 boxes a week,” said Chas­tanet.

“Ob­vi­ously, this event will af­fect that, but we know that the de­mand is there and the mar­ket is there and we are work­ing on mak­ing it hap­pen”

Chas­tanet said it was im­per­a­tive to get “pro­duc­tion go­ing as soon as pos­si­ble”.

“We have reached out to donor coun­tries, the Mex­i­cans, the Moroc­cans and the Tai­wanese,” he said, stress­ing that the is­land needs to build a more re­silient and sus­tain­able agri­cul­tural sec­tor and op­er­ate a sur­plus gov­ern­ment so it can as­sist it­self in such sit­u­a­tions.

“Agri­cul­ture is an im­mense rev­enue earner for this coun­try and a lot of fam­i­lies de­pend on this in­come. I know that they have felt, in the past, that they are on their own, but this gov­ern­ment will not let them down, and we are com­mit­ted to the longterm de­vel­op­ment of agri­cul­ture in this coun­try,” said Chas­tanet.

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