“I Am Very Unhappy!” Prospere Chides Food Consultation Organisers – St. Lucia Times News

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

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Agriculture Minister Alfred Prospere has chided organisers of a sustainable food consultation over the absence of his Permanent Secretary and some other key officials from the event.

The Minister said he received information that they did not get an official invitation.

“I am very unhappy this morning and I will be frank and straight to the point that we cannot have an activity like this and my Permanent Secretary is not present,” Prospere told the event’s opening ceremony.

“I will not accept it and I will not tolerate it and I hope it does not happen again. Because he is the one coordinating the Ministry. I am the policy person taking decisions to the Cabinet,” the Dennery South MP told his audience.

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“When I see my PS is absent, my DPS is absent, there is no one from the Marketing Unit, my Director of Agricultural Services is absent – it tells me we are not ready yet,” the Minister declared.

He urged the organisers to never let that happen again.

“I am very unhappy and you have never seen me so unhappy since I became the Minister,” Prospere asserted.

Nevertheless, the Minister said it was an honour for him to be at the activity.

He described as timely, the food security consultation under the theme – ‘Can Helen Feed Herself?’

Prospere responded in the affirmative.

“Helen has been feeding herself many decades back. What we need to focus on is how we can ensure that Helen continues to feed herself, given the numerous challenges we face as a sector,” he observed.

In this regard, the Minister mentioned climate change over which Saint Lucia has no control but needs to implement measures to reduce its impact on the agriculture sector.

He also spoke of forest loss due to natural disasters and the matter of water security.

Additionally, Prospere disclosed that many farmers engage in seasonal agriculture.

But he said he would like to see more year-round farmers, asserting that people should never underestimate the food security crisis.

The Minister said food security always has to be high on his Ministry’s agenda.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that we work with the stakeholders to be able to meet our food security needs in Saint Lucia,” Prospere explained.

However, the Minister disclosed that every year Saint Lucia imports $1.6 million in food, a lot of which the country can grow.

“We have a problem and the problem is not a small problem or a minor problem, but it is a major problem that we must address,” he asserted.

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