Green Gold – ASDA’s CEO Believes Banana Still Profitable
March 10, 2006

Green Gold – ASDA’s CEO Believes Banana Still Profitable

The delegation from ASDA, a United Kingdom based supermarket that buys Windward Islands Fair Trade bananas, believes that the fruit is still a sustainable, money-making crop for farmers. {{more}}

This view came from ASDA’S Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director of Produce Nick Burr at a press briefing held at the Foreign Affairs Conference room on Tuesday March 7.

Burr and his team who visited the country on the invitation of the government from March 6-8 celebrated the achievement of the US$1 million mark social premium fund, which helps to give aid to rural communities.

The head of the delegation advised this country to continue to hold discussions with ASDA and to further express the country’s need for the development of the banana industry.

He said the partnership of buying and selling Fair-trade bananas at the 315 supermarkets in the UK has been a success since it commenced in 2002.

Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture, Montgomery Daniel praised the relationship between ASDA and Fair-trade bananas.

He noted that the industry has contributed tremendously to the development of the country for over 50 years, but with the introduction of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules in 1994, the banana industry declined rapidly.

Daniel noted that over the years St.Vincent and the Grenadines moved from 80,000 to 20,000 tons of bananas.

The Agriculture Minister also pointed out that the number of farmers was also on the decline from 8,000 in 1992 to 1,500 in 2005.

He disclosed that the last WTO ruling to implement F.C.F.S with 63-37% licence sharing is a significant blow to the banana industry and noted that countries like the Cameroons deliver their bananas twice as fast, while Windward Island farmers who have to venture in to rugged interior of the countries to produce the crop, hence one of the reasons for a lower output of bananas.

The ASDA delegation while here, toured some of the projects that they funded such as the Diamond Primary School Sporting Project, the Georgetown Secondary Green House Agricultural Project, activities at the Biabou Clinic and the Mesopotamia pre-school, among others.

The delegation also comprised David Hunter, and Roy Hugh of Wibdeco.

ASDA is Britain’s food and clothing superstore and a subsidiary of the giant chain of stores Wal-Mart.