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EU to Fund Institutional Review of Agriculture Ministry

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Contact: John Emmanuel

October 12, 1999 - The Ministry of Agriculture is awaiting endorsement from the European Union of the company chosen to conduct a full-fledged institutional review of the Ministry. The review will assess the many programmes of the ministry and attempt to chart the way forward. It will also come up with recommendations for improvements and mechanisms for streamlining operational efficiency.

Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fletcher says if all goes according to plan, the process will get underway next month. "We've just completed a similar review of the St. Lucia Agriculturist Association which is responsible for the marketing of cocoa. We felt that it was necessary to examine its institutional capacity with a view to strengthening it thereby allowing the association to play a greater role in the industry."

"We are also hoping to get approval from Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) within the next few days for a project aimed at strengthening our extension services, which in the past has been a problem area. Verbally the FAO has agreed to a comprehensive 18 month programme for the retraining of extension officers."

The Ministry he says has also redirected the extension service with the focus on commodities as opposed to areas. Dr. Fletcher says the new market driven approach will hopefully work to farmers benefit, while at the same time make extension officers more accountable.


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