Saint Lucia gov’t to review WINFRESH, compensate banana farmers

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Saint Lucia gov’t to review WINFRESH, compensate banana farmers

(St. Lucia News Online) — Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources, and Co-operatives Ezechiel Joseph is set to review the operations of WINFRESH.

The review is aimed at improving the organisation’s service to farmers, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which poses “unique challenges” to the industry.

Those views were expressed by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet in a recent Facebook post.

He further disclosed that $1 million was given to the National Fair Trade Organisation (NFTO). Another $1 million will follow, he noted.

The prime minister said this payment is part of the Saint Lucia government’s COVID-19 Social Stabilization Programme, done in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.

He described the payment as “timely support to banana farmers amidst the current vulnerable environment”.

“This move became necessary as a response to a breach on the part of WINFRESH to provide payments to farmers through the NFTO,” Chastanet said.

“Agriculture officials will continue to work to address concerns by farming and agriculture constituents in keeping their livelihoods buoyant, and in securing local food sources,” the prime minister added.

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