Taiwanese hand over Orange Hill Horticultural Project  to Ministry of Agriculture
December 17, 2013
Taiwanese hand over Orange Hill Horticultural Project to Ministry of Agriculture

The handover of the Orange Hill Horticultural Project by the Taiwanese Agricultural Mission to the Ministry of Agriculture, is not a sign that the Taiwanese are leaving.{{more}}

In fact, Republic of China Ambassador Weber Shih and Saboto Caesar, this country’s Minister of Agriculture, say that the partnership between the two countries is growing stronger with time.

At a signing ceremony to officially pass control of the project to the ministry, Caesar debunked what he termed as a myth, that the ceremonial event meant that Taiwan would have no further connections with the project.

Rather, he said, there is going to be joint ownership of the facility.

“When they hear about a handing over, they are thinking that the Orange Hill project is being handed over and the Taiwanese are leaving. I told them no, the cooperation was, it is, and it will continue to be.

“What we are actually witnessing today… basically involves us taking full ownership of a lot of the infrastructure…. with such a handing over, there is an increased responsibility that will be placed on the high office of the Permanent Secretary and all the members of staff of the ministry.

“It is one thing to receive a gift, it is another thing to fully utilize it, because we would wish to ensure that the transition is a seamless one,” Caesar stated.

The minister said that the handover of the project, coupled with the tissue culture laboratory that was handed over three years ago, would assist in the increase of output, as the country seeks to diversify agriculture. He said that this would not have been possible without the continued assistance of the government and people of Taiwan.

“The agricultural landscape in St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to evolve, the agricultural sector continues to play a very pivotal part in the growth and development of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the assistance that we have received from the government and people of Taiwan through the years have only facilitated in our increase in production and productivity.

“And this is just one aspect as to how the cooperation with the government and people of Taiwan would have brought significant benefits. It definitely increases the profitability in the agricultural sector.

During his address, Ambassador Shih highlighted a number of areas of technical assistance that his country would be extending to the ministry of agriculture in 2014 and beyond.

“Today, on behalf of the government, I am so honoured to join the Honourable Minister in announcing the technical assistance to be implemented… including small ruminants artificial insemination, soil analysis and advanced production and marketing training for vegetable farmers.

“The artificial insemination and soil analysis project both include upgrading of lab, training and attachments to Taiwan….” the ambassador explained.

Ambassador Shih also praised the work of the previously handed over tissue culture laboratory, and stressed that if the same is done with the horticultural project, great things can be expected.

He also thanked the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines for the level of significance it has placed on agricultural cooperation between the two countries.

“The agriculture tissue lab handed over to the ministry is now well managed and has developed as a prominent lab of its kind in the Caribbean and it’s with the same goal both parties hope the newly handed project will continue to flourish and will set another example for the sustainable development of cooperation.

“I am convinced that although the range of our bilateral cooperation has been diverse, agriculture will continue to be the backbone field of cooperation in the foreseeable future.

“Excellence and perfection is not a destination, it’s a journey that never ends. Just pledge excellence and continue to work shoulder to shoulder for the bright future of agriculture. I wish our agriculture project continues to be a big success and wish you all the best,” Shih said.

St Vincent and the Grenadines began agricultural partnership with Taiwan in 1982.(JJ)