January 22, 2010
WINFA hands over EC$200,000 worth of items to farmers

A quantity of items, which hopefully will make banana farmers’ operations more productive and efficient, has been handed over to the Fair Trade Organization.{{more}}

The items, valued at just over EC$200,000, and purchased with funds made available through the European Union, were handed over by the Windward Islands Farmers’ Association (WINFA) on Tuesday, January 19.

The items, which include finger length equipment, respirators, coveralls, first aid kits and sacks of lime, were made available under the ‘Advancement of Environment Friendly and Sustainable Banana production’ programme.

“The role of Fair Trade is not just looking for fair prices, but the well being of the farmer,” Renwick Rose, coordinator of WINFA said.

The project was started in 2007 with the expectation that it would run for two years. However, a one-year extension has been granted, Rose disclosed. He called on the governments of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the rest of the Windward Islands to recognise the seriousness of such programmes and implement them.

“The problem is not just getting farmers to use the items, but society as a whole doesn’t recognize what is going on in the world. We need to conform to productivity and efficiency standards,” Rose said.

As a result, training sessions with farmers will continue in an effort to get them globally certified, Rose said.

“If we can get farmers to get on board, we can show the rest of society that they have learnt and can deal with the issues and we need to learn to do the same.”