St Lucia’s banana industry set for recovery?

St Lucia’s ailing banana industry is showing significant signs of improvement with a ready market in Europe for the fruit, Agriculture Minister Ezechiel Joseph said.

Joseph told St Lucia Times there is a demand for Windward Islands bananas in the United Kingdom and France but the buyers want guarantees that the region can provide good quality bananas on a sustainable basis.

He said the main issues facing the local banana industry are productivity and achieving consistency in quality.

“When I went to London, I had the opportunity to meet with some of major supermarkets and they are saying they want more of the windward island bananas. So there is a market. It’s for our farmers now to be able to produce the fruit in a sustainable basis. They need to increase the productivity so they can generate the kind of returns that they can generate from that enterprise,” he added.

To assist with the recovery, the government of St Lucia will provide farmers with fertiliser at fifty percent of the cost. The government also plans to assist the farmers with two applications of fertiliser before year end.

A team of extension officers has been working with farmers and other industry stakeholders to articulate the policies and programs of the government.

The Ministry of Agriculture is preparing to meet with farmers across the island soon to dialogue on the future of the banana industry.

“The figures that are coming in is very encouraging. If we continue with what I’m seeing we might reach almost 20,000 tonnes for the year 2017 despite the fact that the first quarter of 2017, one would remember that we’re recovering from Tropical Storm Matthew, so that’s significant.”

Joseph said a 20,000 tonne banana export in 2017 would result in nearly 300 percent increase over 2016 export numbers.

The Agriculture Minister said barring any unforeseen circumstances, such as a storm or hurricane, the banana industry is on course to meet the targets set by the Prime Minister.

13 Comments

  1. MetYo
    August 16, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Good to know our Gov’t is trying to revitalise an industry that help build this country. But I hope a good price will be negotiated and our farmers will not be underpaid like in the past. Farmers need a lot more than ching ching in their pockets so that they can stay motivated in providing good quality bananas on a sustainable basis.

    1. Anonymous
      August 16, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      I made a point this morning concerning this, however, my post was deleted. Wal-mart is buying everything around the world, including, oranges, tamarind, mangoes, guava, papaya, plantain, much of which comes from the Caribbean, Mexico etc. Why can’t St. Lucia penetrate the US market as yet with our Agricultural products? Our young men should be working these farms instead of destroying one another, there is so much money to be made.

  2. Anonymous
    August 16, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Politicalise any industry…and it must fall..

  3. Anonymous
    August 16, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Tell the mayor to leave poor vendor’s alone by the roadside

    1. Anonymous
      August 16, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      The government shouldn’tgo into that now.everytime there is a little storm far less a hurricane all bananas fall
      That’s not a way to invest our hard earned money.plus we expect more terrible bad weather in the further.mr Joseph try looking at some other crops like dasheen patatoes and other crops which can stand a little wind

  4. Trump
    August 16, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    great work minister love what i am reading

    1. Anonymous
      August 16, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Who that omg Lord pleas don’t do my people that

  5. Mr. Dole
    August 16, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Bananas are so yesterday! Get on board with the industry of the future TOURISM. Stop wasting time & money on garbage bananas!

    1. Anonymous
      August 16, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      Jack ass Mr.Dole how can food be yesterday

  6. Second in Command!
    August 16, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Nonsense Mr. Dole,
    Why can’t we have Tourism and Bananas like we did back in the 80’s, I think the revival of the banana industry would be an excellent way to supplement the tourism income, not everyone are willing to be Taxi drivers but are willing to grow bananas instead so in that way everyone plays their role in the economy.

  7. Dole & Chaquita
    August 16, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Second in command,
    India, China, central America, all produce a vast quantity of bananas. Saturating the market place. England used to be our primary importer. Now UK go buy whatever / wherever is cheapest, with no loyalty to past association to our island. Concentrating on bananas is a step backward, lets first perfect our tourism industry, only then maybe we diversify. Lets do one thing, and lets do that one thing very well, and that one thing should be tourism. We have the tools to be really good at it. Get on board!

  8. FYI Joe
    August 16, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    While I agree that bananas has and still continues to play a part in our history and daily lives, it has also led to a lot of damage to our waterways with all those chemicals……….I think we can still keep bananas as a viable food source but should really look at other crops that we can also produce that would broaden our horizons on the global market……eg cannabis, potatoes etc

  9. FARMER
    August 20, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    CANNABIS PRODUCTION SHOULD BE OUR NEXT GREEN GOLD

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