GIS- AGRICULTURE OFFICIALS HOPE TO STAGE A SUMMER FESTIVAL TO MARK THE END OF THE OECS MANGO BIODIVERSITY PROJECT.
The Ministry of Agriculture is planning a grand finale to mark the end of the OECS Mango Biodiversity Project in Saint Lucia.
Nicole LaForce-Haynes, Environmental Education Officer at the Department of Forestry, said the festival will highlight the value of the mango plant.
“We want to end this project with a big shebang—a mango festival—and we want it on a large scale. We’re aiming for next year June or July when we will be in the mango season, so it is something that we expect to go well, and something that will create more exposure, so that people will be aware of the importance of this plant, not only with regard to sustaining livelihoods and promoting food security, but also in building resilience to climate change.”
Prior to the project’s culmination, officials will undertake a sensitization campaign will include a series of presentations, radio and TV appearances, and the use of social media platforms to disseminate information.
“We’re doing work on the ground with range officers who will target the farmers. We will also go into some of the schools. We plan to do talk shows and radio programs, and post messages on Facebook so that we can reach the young people who like social media.”
The sensitization campaign includes workshops.
“One of the things we have planned is a series of workshops where farmers as well as agro-processors are invited to discuss how further value can be added to the mango,” Ms. Haynes said. “We know a lot can be done: mango pickle, mango jam, mango jelly, and mango juice, and we know that our unemployment percentage is very high, so this is another avenue where young people can be empowered.”
A book of mango recipes is also being considered. The book will feature recipes used during a Mango Biodiversity culinary competition.
The OECS Mango biodiversity project culminates in November 2018.