February 25, 2005
Regional membership drive for farmers

WINFA is to carry out a major membership drive throughout the Windward Islands during the course of this year. The intention is to ensure that all sections of the farming community that continue to benefit from WINFA initiatives are well-represented within a strong organization capable of defending the interests of all farmers in the sub- region. {{more}} Particular focus will be placed on non- banana farmers and at developing close collaboration with other farmers organizations representing such sectors as poultry, pigs, root crop and vegetables and other traditional commercial crops.

This was one of several decisions to emerge from the first meeting of WINFA’s Board of Directors for 2005, held in Kingstown, St. Vincent last week. It arose out of serious concern expressed by the WINFA Board about the failure on the part of both farmers and marketing institutions in the sub- region to capitalize on the opportunities available for market expansion and non- traditional exports. In light of the successes of the banana Fair Trade initiative undertaken by WINFA over the past five years, and in a bid to strengthen the capacity for agricultural diversification in the sub- region, WINFA will undertake the membership drive. It will also involve a visit to all the islands by WINFA President, Marcella Harris and Coordinator Renwick Rose, during which they expect to meet with farmers and farmers’ organizations as well as officials from government and agricultural institutions.

The Board also expressed strong support for CARICOM’s position on the new banana regime of the European Union and urged Caribbean governments to meet with their Latin American counterparts to seek a solution to the present impasse. It also voiced its concern that regional unity not be breached in the banana negotiations.

The Board endorsed the holding of the Second International Banana Conference to be held in Brussels at the end of April and re- committed WINFA’s efforts to ensure both a strong and vibrant Caribbean participation in it.