St. Lucia’s banana production prospects look positive: Joseph

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St. Lucia’s banana production prospects look positive: Joseph
Agricultural Minister Ezechiel Joseph (inset photo) has expressed confidence in the growth of the local banana industry.
Agricultural Minister Ezechiel Joseph (inset photo) has expressed confidence in the growth of the local banana industry.

Agriculture Minister Ezechiel Joseph has said the banana industry has seen some improvement based on figures from banana marketing company Winfresh.

According to Joseph, if the current level of production is maintained, the island could see the production of almost 20,000 tonnes for 2017, which would be an over 300 percent increase compared to 2016 figures.

“I must report that the figures that are coming in are very encouraging,” he said. “If we continue with what I am seeing, we might reach almost 20,000 tonnes for the year 2017 despite the fact that [for] the first quarter of 2017 …we were recovering from Tropical Storm Matthew, so that’s significant.”

Joseph disclosed that the country is hoping to add to its exports starting in January where it will send out 3,000 boxes of bananas to France on a weekly basis.

“They have given a commitment. They are still interested in purchasing our bananas, through of course, our established mechanism, that’s through Winfresh. So we are looking at starting sometime in January, where, January to March 2018 … That is another market that we have of course and we need to increase the production,” he said.

Joseph said he is optimistic taking into account the condition of banana fields on the island.

“It’s very encouraging,” he said, though noting that there should be greater banana production and consistency in yields.

“When I went to London I had the opportunity to meet with some of the major supermarkets and they are saying that they want more of the Windward Islands bananas, so there is a market. It’s for farmers now to be able to produce the fruit on a sustainable basis to increase the productivity so they can generate the type of returns … form that enterprise because right now, when I look at the figures…and if the figures are correct, it is showing that we have reduced our production per acre,” he noted.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. In the UK even the budget supermarkets stock organic banans mainly all from central america. This should be the focus even smaller bananas are marketed to children a's the western diet is becoming more health consious. It seems to me a logical product to promote don't compete on qty but quality organic.

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  2. Let us not promote discouragement, the banana industry has done well for the island in the past and it's revival would take some time but will definitely go well with the tourism industry as well. If everyone with waste lands put their heads to the plough and revive the banana industry, the island would be back on it's feet once again. Mr. Minister, I suggest that you motivate the people via radio and television to get them back in the fields once again. Let's make it happen!

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  3. Banana production is a non-competitive 3rd- or 4th-tier supply chain 'sunset' activity. Why is this being given such prominence? This is disgusting. The minister is not on top of his game. Where and at what levels are the earning figures? Does this minister have any kind of business sense that can be put on display at all? This is both idiotically stupid and shocking.

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    • What is wrong with selling bananas? No one has said that it will be like before but what is wrong with increasing the production if there is the market?

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      • Up to now, nobody has produced a verifiable and convincing study of the net economic and social impact of banana production at the micro level regarding Saint Lucia, since the removal of the preferential prices. We are therefore blissfully attached to be simply operating in the dark, hoping that everything is going to be alright. But only foolish people do these kinds of things in this day and age. Moreover, past performance is no guarantee of continuation in a more competitive future environment. Business and economic strategists and managers are generally very much concerned of addressing this issue.

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