A critical problem facing agricultural development in the Eastern Caribbean is the acute scarcity of arable land. Concentrated ownership of best lands compounds this scarcity. The majority of the rural population is left to farm small holdings on unsuitable hillsides. In turn, this intensive cultivation of hillsides triggers a complex process of soil erosion and environmental degradation of entire watersheds. Isolated soil-conservation efforts have at best been palliative. The roots of the problem remain in land scarcity.
Since 1980 the Organization of American States has provided technical assistance to the Saint Lucia Government in its efforts to resolve this situation. The OAS publication, Saint Lucia Natural Resources and Agricultural Development Project: Studies and Proposals for the Implementation of a Land Registration Programme, outlined the preliminary research undertaken into the land tenure question. This research prepared the way for the Morne Panache Pilot Project, which in turn, led to the national Land Registration and Titling Programme (LRTP) and the Mabouya Valley Development Project. Development activities in the Mabouya Valley continue today.
This volume, designed as a follow-up to the original report, addresses the Morne Panache Pilot Project, the LRTP, and the Mabouya Valley Development Project. Together, the results of these projects illustrate the importance of an integrated approach to land issues, an approach that deals not only with the consequences of problems, but also with causes. The Department of Regional Development and Environment at the OAS is pleased to have cooperated with the Government of St. Lucia in this effort and believes that the following account may be helpful to other governments faced with similar development challenges.
KIRK P. RODGERS
DEPARTMENT OF REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES