Agriculture, forestry and fisheries contributed 3.1% of Saint Lucia’s GDP in 2010, whilst in 2009, 18% of land was used for agricultural purposes. There are many small and medium sized agricultural enterprises, as well as some commercial farming. The main agricultural products are bananas, coconuts, vegetables, citrus fruits, root crops and cocoa. Bananas are the most important crop, dominating around half of all cultivated land and gross agricultural output. Almost the entirety of Saint Lucia’s banana production is exported, although production can be constrained by hurricanes and climatic fluctuations. Coconuts are also exported, whereas vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes are mainly produced for consumption by the country’s population.
Saint Lucia’s livestock sector is small and is dominated by poultry and pork. Saint Lucia Banana Growers Association (SLBGA) is important in the industry as is the Windward Island Farmers’ Association (WINFA) which is a member of the Fairtrade initiative. The Department of Agriculture, part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries is responsible for overseeing the sector.
The Ministry works to develop Saint Lucia’s agriculture sector through environmentally sustainable management practices which benefit the entire population. As a member of the Fairtrade initiative WINFA receives a Fairtrade premium which is money dedicated to investment in the Windward Islands. Along with a number of other projects in Saint Lucia, this money has been used to provide an annual health care allowance for farmers in the country, set up retirement homes for farmers and develop a banana ripening centre.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) runs the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) which conducts agricultural research and development in the region. In 2012 CARDI ran various development programmes, including evaluating the use of herbicides in the banana industry and establishing production of germplasm (seeds, cuttings or any material which can be developed into a plant) of local pineapples. It is also running Saint Lucia’s participation in the regional small ruminant survey in order to develop that aspect of the agricultural industry.