Export Saint Lucia (TEPA) is once again making significant strides in increasing the volume and variety of agricultural products coming from Saint Lucia.
In December 2018, a group of local sea moss farmers made history by becoming the first to export sun-dried sea moss from Saint Lucia to the United Kingdom (UK).
The test shipment of sun-dried sea moss, which was shipped to the buyer in the United Kingdom, was a resounding success, with roars of approval chiming through — to the extent that the buyer has already expressed interest in a second order of the product in the coming weeks, as well as considering imports of a wider variety of agricultural produce from the island.
In preparation for the shipment, exporter Kerwin Samuel from Total Health Foods Services, said that this new market has given sea moss farmers a renewed sense of hope as they now have a bigger outlet for sale and distribution of their produce.
“We are so happy that at least we got a market in the UK for the first time.The sea moss farmers are very excited about the opportunity, hoping to produce much more sea moss now, better quality sea moss for the long run, so we look forward for this,” Samuel said.
The Department of Fisheries, a key partner in the process, said it is delighted at the prospect. Deputy Chief Fisheries Officer Thomas Nelson said that new and improved methods of sea moss farming will see farmers having greater and more consistent yields in time to come. In the meantime, however, he insists that proper methods and practices should be maintained.
“We are in the process of continuous training, also providing support to the farmers in terms of the farm husbandry practices, trying to strengthen the organizational capacity of the farming groups so that we can assure the market that once they call upon the farmers for a supply of sun-dried sea moss, it is going to be available and the quality is going to be of the highest,” Nelson said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Export Saint Lucia (TEPA) Sunita Daniel has indicated that this shipment is the organization realizing that there is need for diversification in Saint Lucia’s agricultural export product.
“Export Saint Lucia has recognized the importance of diversifying the export base and this has led us to explore alternative products for exports. Although we will still support the traditional exports, to help in generating wealth in rural communities through agriculture, we must diversify the export base. For Fisheries this includes the export of sea moss products for which we have realized there is a demand in the international market. This collaboration with the Department of Fisheries will continue as we assist the local sea moss farmers in accessing markets. They would have not been able to gain if not for the intervention of Export Saint Lucia and the Department of Fisheries,” Daniel said.
All parties involved say they look forward to the solidification of this new outlet for sea moss farmers and anticipate good things to come with this success.