As a small island developing state, St. Lucia has an open economy, but it is fragile and still quite dependent on agriculture. Due to its geographical location it is vulnerable to various natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, earthquakes and drought spells. The agriculture sector is highly impacted by these natural hazards; it is also the sector that has been affected by the trade liberalization policies, which result in lower prices for commodities such as bananas. These factors have pushed farmers out of the sector and resulted in them seeking more lucrative sources of incomes in other sectors such as tourism and construction. This situation has put pressure on remaining farmers in terms of the availability and cost of labour, which in turn affects agricultural productivity and lives and livelihoods of rural communities.
|© Carleen Jules|
The pilot sites cover a mix of communities spread around the north, west, south west, and east coast of the island with some variation in topography and are exposed to a mix of hazards:
Bogis (Babonneau) is a small rural community established within the wider community of Babonneau in the north of the island. Parts of Bogis lie within the flat areas and are prone to flooding.
Roseau is a rural community along the west coast of the island. Its main valley The main is prone to floods and wind storms.
The Mabouya Valley lies along the east coast of the island and flooding, drainage and soil and erosion problems places serious limitations on cultivation.
Delcer is an inland and generally remote rural community along the west coast of St. Lucia. The region is generally characterized by undulating to hilly areas with some slopes and eroded agricultural land and some stoniness, which in general limits the choice of crops and requires some special conservation practices.
Dennery is both a quarter (St. Lucia is divided into 11 quarters) and a village on the east coast of the island. A large part of Dennery is located in the Mabouya Valley and besides the cultivation of bananas, other mixed crop cultivation, the main economic activity is fishing.
Soufriere is a quarter and a town that is situated on the Southwest coast. The terrain in Soufriere mainly comprises of severe slopes mixed with areas of undulating-hilly landscape. With regards to fishing, this takes place from the Soufriere bay, which is near the town.