PRESS RELEASE - SLBS promotes Agricultural Standards for Food Security

 

Press Release                                                        October 16, 2017 

 

SLBS promotes Agricultural Standards for Food Security

 


 

The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards joins the world in marking World Food Day, with a call for use of standards in the agricultural sector.  World Food Day is being observed under the theme, Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development,” as a means of exploring the reasons people move and causing migration to have a more positive impact on host countries and communities.

In a recent address to the nation to mark World Standards Day on October 14th , Honourable Bradley Felix, Minister in the Department of Commerce spoke of the movement of people from rural communities to the cities. He said, “Saint Lucia like the rest of the world is moving quickly into a new phase of human development.  For the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population live in cities and the proportion of urban dwellers is projected to account for up to seventy percent of the population by 2050. One only has to look at the development of the Castries – Gros Islet corridor to understand the potential impact of the continuous movement of people.  The city has become the defining unit of human habitation.”

The focus on food security and rural development therefore, promotes the advancement of strategic interventions which will allow people to remain in areas where they can grow food for their livelihoods as well as the world.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, “rural development can address factors that compel people to move by creating business opportunities and jobs for young people that are not only crop-based (such as small dairy or poultry production, food processing or horticulture enterprises). It can also lead to increased food security, more resilient livelihoods, better access to social protection,  reduced conflict over natural resources and solutions to environmental degradation and climate change. “

The standards development agenda has in the last decade been anticipating what will be needed for Saint Lucia to address food security issues and improved livelihoods.  The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture has embarked on the development of a series of agricultural standards to promote good husbandry and agricultural practices to make the sector competitive.  

 

The standards are focused on advancements in requirements for labeling and grading as part of the initiative to strengthen certification of select agricultural products, livestock and fish products in Saint Lucia. In addition, stakeholders can benchmark better selection, packaging and presentation of produce as a means of obtaining greater income overall by meeting export market requirements. 

 

Standards role in food security and rural development is expected to become more critical as policy makers respond to the challenges of migration. 

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