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Union Fruit Orchard Rejuvenated

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 The Ministry of Agriculture and the Taiwan Technical Mission on Friday 28th September held a special ceremony to mark the first stage in the revitalization of the Union Agricultural Station which includes the rehabilitation of the fruit orchard there.

The area which had not been actively used for sometime has been under-going a process of revitalization from July this year through the interventions, of the Government of Saint Lucia and the Taiwan Technical Mission of Saint Lucia headed by agricultural expert Dr. Yih-Shiow Chang.

Minister for Agriculture Honourable Ezikel Joseph says the agricultural lands at Union have been recommitted to agriculture by the consensus of his government and will be fully maximized in the near future as more agricultural projects come on stream. Taiwan's Ambassador to Saint Lucia His Excellency Tom Chou outlined other agricultural programmes which will redefine several sectors in the local agricultural industry and directly benefit the farmers. These include a vegetable demonstration farm, a tissue culture lab, a green house project, fish ponds and the post Hurricane Dean Assistance Programme.

The ceremony also included the unveiling of a sign which has been erected near the entrance of the Fruit Orchard and a tour of the newly transformed property.

Meanwhile as the agricultural collaboration between Taiwan and Saint Lucia continues to bear fruit, Minister for Agriculture Ezikel Joseph has appealed to eager farmers to exercise patience as a number of projects are already poised for implementation. The minister said however, the business of agriculture by its very nature is one that takes times.

I've been speaking to the Ambassador, of course to the Head of the Mission and I'm telling him that I think we should be going a little bit faster, we're a bit too slow, because the farmers out there want to start feeling the benefits of that collaboration. But of course you have to agree that things don't happen overnight, especially when you're dealing with agriculture it doesn't happen over night.

One of the programmes which has attracted increasing interest from the farming community is the Greenhouse Project. According to Honourable Ezikel Joseph the programme initially planned to bring in 60 greenhouses for farmers but several more have indicated their interest. The Government of Taiwan is assisting in funding the project.

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