August 10, 2012
WINFA Coordinator reminds farmers to ‘give the best fruit’

Banana farmers here have been reminded that they have a “huge role” to play in the partnership of the Fair Trade Organization.{{more}}

Kozel Peters, Coordinator of the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA), speaking at the 12th General Assembly of Fair Trade Banana Producers last Thursday, told farmers that team work is the key to ensuring the production of top quality bananas in St Vincent.

“People buy our fruit because they believe that we meet certain criteria and we have a responsibility at our end as well to ensure that we do our best, that we work assiduously and diligently to ensure that we give the best fruit and quality tasting product.”

She said that while she understands that the challenges within the industry seem insurmountable, farmers are not alone in the “battle”.

“You must know that there are 57 certified Fair Trade Producer groups that do bananas under Fair Trade as well and the Windward Islands, we are only just one group of the 57. When you look at these groups and the challenges they have to face in terms of their production, the challenges are similar.

“But it means that once you decide to adopt the Fair Trade principle, we expect you as well to be innovative. Try new things or do research. Sometimes it’s not only about the money, but how you incorporate new technologies and you transfer them to other farms and help the other producers to do better,” Peters said.

Commenting on the theme for Thursday’s Assembly, “Producing quality fruits for survival of the industry,” Peters challenged farmers to start focusing on the idea of building the next generation for the Fair Trade organization.

“I want farmers to start to involve their children and other young community members in the Fair Trade concept and production system… I think what is missing from the industry to make it successful even as we look at quality is that link between the next generation,” the WINFA Coordinator said.

Peters also pledged WINFA’s commitment to the farmers in terms of advocacy to ensure better prices on the banana market, as well as “making sure that the issues farmers face are articulated at the higher level.”(AA)