Officials host five-day workshop on enhancing coconut oil
March 22, 2013

Officials host five-day workshop on enhancing coconut oil

With over 45 persons in the Sandy Bay area producing coconut oil for sale, the Rural Transformation Unit has partnered with UNESCO under the “Enhancement of Coconut Oil” project to support the budding cottage industry.{{more}}

As a part of this project, a five-day workshop is being held for 25 participants in Sandy Bay, for persons interested in producing coconut oil.

Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar urged participants not to look at the workshop or any other event under the project as a one-off occurrence.

“It is the objective of the government to ensure that through the Rural Transformation Unit, we increase both production and productivity in rural St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Caesar said.

The minister stressed that this event is symbolic of many others that will come later in the year, as well as the forging of close unity between the ministries and cooperatives, in an effort to alleviate poverty.

With the development of a coconut oil cottage industry in Sandy Bay, Caesar stated that persons should not only look at rural consumption, but on a national and regional scale and eventually, internationally.

Additionally, Caesar pointed out that the Ministry of Agriculture will not only be focusing on coconut oil, but on agro-processing as well, as it is essential that none of the country’s agricultural commodities go to waste.

“We have to look at development in a holistic way,” Caesar said. “We want to ensure that our people buy local, eat local and support the cottage industries in St Vincent and the Grenadines”.

Currel Thompson, Senior Technical Officer of the Rural Transformation Unit, said one of the aims of the unit is to improve economic activities in rural communities and more so, to reduce poverty.

Thompson described the training programme as a timely event and one that is essential in the development of the local people. She also stated that there will be a series of training activities, as well as follow-ups that will be done by the unit.

“Even when we are finished with all this training, it doesn’t mean that the Ministry of Agriculture will be finished with you,” Thompson said. “You will still see the representative from the unit that will be visiting”.

UNESCO local representative Janeil Henry expressed happiness over UNESCO being able to fund the programme.

Henry noted that education goes beyond learning in a classroom environment and so, UNESCO is more aggressive than before to ensure education for all, that will aid in driving sustainable development in St Vincent.

“We know that you are finished with your formal school setting,” Henry said. “This is learning for life that we are engaging in here”.

The workshop began on Monday and will conclude on March 26.(BK)