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Saint Lucia Banana Production Exceeding Demand

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Banana production in Saint Lucia is above what the market demands, Agriculture Minister Alfred Prospere has disclosed.

The excess production starkly contrasts with last year.

At that time, Prospere expressed concern that Saint Lucia was failing to meet the desired 15,000 boxes weekly market demand for banana exports.

The shortfall was due to Tropical Storm Bret destroying more than seventy-five percent of the Island’s banana and plantain crops in June 2023, and farmers were still recovering.

But that has now changed.

“We have more production on the ground than we can market or export,” the Agriculture Minister said.

He said he learned that the Dominican Republic and Suriname provide Barbados with bananas, making things difficult for local exporters.

Questioned regarding reports that producers were giving bananas to pig farmers to feed their animals, Prospere said he had heard of the situation.

“I was a little surprised when I heard that because I am saying those bananas could have been sold by the market or provided to the schools. But again, that is just what I have been hearing. I hope it is something that will not continue,” the Minister stated.

“Our bananas are too important to be used for that purpose,” Prospere explained.

He told reporters on the margins of Tuesday’s House of Assembly meeting that he had spoken to the National Fair Trade Organization (NFTO).

“When I engaged NFTO I was told we have a surplus now,” the Minister stated.

Prospere said the NFTO revealed that the market demand was not what the organisation expected.

Nevertheless, the Minister revealed that he engaged a new buyer on Monday regarding exporting bananas to St. Thomas.

However, Prospere explained that the time the exports would arrive, within seven to eight days, was an issue.

Despite that, he hoped Saint Lucia would get the new buyer.

“At this time of the year, we expect high production. It is not the first time because we are getting the consistent rains,” the Minister told reporters.

At the same time, he emphasised that the NFTO and the other exporters, are private entities exporting bananas.

Prospere said the Government does not manage the NFTO, but will continue to support banana farmers.

In addition, he hoped that the situation of excess banana production would not continue.

 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Well I am hoping with this news the price of bananas will drop because we need to eat healthier and with these prices how can we? People will buy the excess bananas if the price is reasonable so I don’t see this as a big deal, we need to start focusing on being able to feed the nation as apposed to exporting. Also my next issue while we are on this why. Ant we get other fruits that grow in tropical climates other than the usual oranges and wax apples golden apples etc. The ministry of agriculture needs to help the farmers in this regard.

  2. Another two face. NFTO is receiving Government subventions, is run by a comrade and still failing. So sorry for the farmers who always get the short end of the stick.

  3. And always the farmers at a disadvantage. This clearly means that farmers’ bananas will not sell because the quota is exceeded. This always happens. SMH

  4. To the commenters: yes! yes! and yes! Agriculture yields far more to the economy than fickle tourism – although the two can go hand in hand with high end strategic planning. You can’t go wrong with fruits.

  5. I’m a little confused because there are hardly any bananas in the supermarkets or from roadside vendors. Worst yet when you do get green bananas, they are so tiny and short. I don’t know if these are rejects from those that are exported. So I won’t be surprised if they are given to pig farmers to feed their pigs.

  6. Feeding pigs with banana shouldn’t be nothing new to the minister he is well aware of it and it is a means to cut cost for rearing these animals. I personally have nothing if the farmers can sell it back to pigs that means the animals are going to be healthier, being fed appropriately and hence forth cutting down on the cost. The present result are one fascist of incompetence of the Ministry of agriculture. Expo St. Lucia NFTO and ICA all want to manipulate the export market and doesn’t have a clue of how to manage it. While we are struggling for staple products, they are yet to get their act together. I’m disgusted about these people.

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