To provide institutional capacity/support for planning, policy development, analysis and evaluation of programs
for the Agricultural sector.
The scope of the Ministry covers the following programme areas:
To increase the efficiency and competitiveness of agriculture.
To promote the adoption of improved / appropriate technological packages.
To expand and diversify agricultural, and fisheries production, value-added agro-processing and the general market base.
To enhance the national food security status.
To generate new opportunities for employment and income generation in rural areas.
To conserve the natural resource base.
To modernize legislative and policy framework for optimal agricultural production and trade.
- Facilitate representation at national, regional, and International level.To comply with international conventions and agreements relating to the portfolio of the Agency.
The Tissue Culture Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture is located at the Union Agricultural Station and is a sub-unit of the Propagation Division. Plant Tissue Culture is a collective term referring to procedures used to maintain and grow plant cells and organs in vitro (in glass) under aseptic (free from mico-organisms) conditions.
It is a tool used by biotechnologists, chemists, biologits, pathologists and many other scientists in the following applications:
Secondary metabolite production
The principal objective of the Tissue Culture Unit is to strengthen the propagation capability of the Ministry of Agriculture and the wider agricultural sector through micro-propagation and germplasm maintenance of species of economic and ecological importance.
Procedures Conducted at the Lab
Parent Plant Selection and preparation -
The parent plant is the material from which plant parts will be removed to start the cultures.
Establishment of Cultures -
Small plant parts (explants) are placed in synthetic growth medium under aseptic conditions.
Explants previously established in culture are transferred from one medium or container to another into fresh medium. Subculturing is done for multiplication in vitro germplasm conservation or plantlet.
In keeping with the Ministerial national goal of improving the standard of living of the agrarian community and its continuing strives in attaining food security for the nation, the once fragmented Agricultural Engineering Services Division (AESD) has been re-structured to realize this goal through the provision of timely and competent technical and professional services and advice to the farming community and relevant ministerial and other governmental agencies, in the principal areas of Agricultural Engineering such as water resources development, irrigation and drainage, land management, mechanization, appropriate technology, and technology development.
The Irrigation Management Unit (IMU) continually monitors and assesses the island’s natural water resources to determine its potential utilization that would enhance agricultural production and development as well as provide technical support services and advice to farmers in the design and establishment of irrigation systems.
Sustainable Land Management Unit (SLMU) seeks to preserve, maintain and in some cases improve the productivity of the nation’s Agricultural Lands by assisting the farming community to minimize land erosion and degradation through the provision of technical support and advice on optimal farm design and layout and the implementation of appropriate conservation practices.
Farm Structures and Technological Enovation Unit (FSTEU) is concerned with the design, testing and evaluation of appropriate agricultural tools, equipment, techniques, methods and structures aimed at enhancing safety, production, productivity and efficiency on the farms.
These three units shall ultimately increase productivity and efficiency, by assisting the farming community to utilize their limited resources in a manner that is socially, environmental, and economically sustainable.
History of the Research and Development Division
During St. Lucia's first year as an independent nation, the Research and Development Division was involved in technology generation and adaptation, provision of diagnostic and analytical services, product development or agro-processing training.
By the early 1980's two new agricultural institution were established in the country, their primary role being the conduct of research programmes. These were CARDI and the French Technical Mission for Co-operation on Agriculture. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) was introduced later. WINBAN, presently WIBDECO, had its beginnings in 1958 to research on production and marketing of bananas.
The activities of the Research and Development Division began to declined since it was created. This Microbiology Laboratory was set up to augment the capability of the Produce Chemist Laboratory to provide services to the newly established St. Lucia Bureau of Standards in the area of food quality monitoring. The pilot plant, an agro-processing facility, which has been part of the Produce Chemist Laboratory was shut down since it was felt that sufficient work had been conducted in the area of agro-processing by the Ministry of Agriculture and that it was now a private sector initiative.
In 1996 the Division was once more graced with the services of a full time agronomist. The Agronomy Unit was again created, this time incorporating the soils unit. About this same time, the other agricultural research institutions were no longer active in the areas of crop research. The French Mission scaled down activities in the area of vegetable research while CARDI was in the process of restructuring its organization.
In 1997 the Taiwanese Mission left St. Lucia. The Research and Development Division therefore had to undertake more of crop research exercises.
In 1998, the new Permanent Secretary Agriculture indicated that the Ministry of Agriculture would once again have to involve itself in full-scale research once resources were available.
Hence it is anticipated that in the near future, the Research and Development Division would re-organise itself to permit more research oriented activities while continuing to improve its diagnostic capabilities. The major challenges would be to efficiently utilize the limited resources allocated to the Division to provide better technical support to the technology transfer arm of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The RADD in 1999 has four technical units and twenty members of staff. The technical units as follows:
Extension & Advisory Services
The Extension Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Production, Fisheries, Co-operatives and Rural Development in St Lucia is commonly known as “The Extension and Advisory Services”. The main purpose of the Extension Division is to improve the quality of life and increase the standard of living of farmers, rural folk and the local people through agricultural educational and advisory services. It is led by a Chief Extension Officer (CEO), followed by eight Regional Heads and Subject Matter Specialist. The eight Regional Heads are each given managerial and supervisory responsibilities and roles of a region. The island of St Lucia is divided into eight regions. Each region has a team of Agricultural Assistants that perform most of the farm advisory frontline and fieldwork. The Subject Matter Specialist assists in areas of specialty. The Extension Division has gone through a number of structural organizations and operational; changes and approaches.
To work with the farming community by providing information through education activities which will empower farm families to adopt appropriate/ sustainable suitable methods to improve their socio-economic well being and contribute to national development.
The goal of the extension and advisory Services Unit is to improve the quality of life by increasing the productivity of a farm as well as increase the quality of country’s food, fiber and forestry production.
A system of trained human resource within an organized framework; input support, facilitate and encourage agricultural growth in a qualitative and quantitative manner. Providing Technical Support and advice which enhances management techniques, agricultural production marketing as it relates to the reality of the farmers.
OBJECTIVES OF THE EXTENSION SERVICE
v To promote the development of the rural population through Education.
v To orient education to “Help the people to help themselves”.
v To take useful information from Research to Farmers and Farm problems back to research.
v To work with sound and proven information.
v To Programme start from the bottom and go to the top.
v To work with all the people.
v To promote and facilitate the organization of groups and schools for developing actions within the communities.
v To involve the people in activities that are designed to promote their well being.
v To evaluate of programmes, methods and procedure is a continuous process.