Ministry reports increase in banana shipment
February 12, 2013
Ministry reports increase in banana shipment

The statistical department of the Ministry of Agriculture has reported that 3,000 boxes of bananas were shipped from St Vincent during the first six weeks of 2013.{{more}}

This is an increase of 2,311, compared with 689, shipped during the same period of 2012.

Speaking at a press conference held at the ministry’s conference room yesterday, Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar attributed the increase to the “hard work” and “dedication” of the farmers who adhered to the Ministry’s “Operation Plant Back” and “Operation Cut Back,” programmes that were implemented to tackle the Black Sigatoka disease.

“As we all know, we would have conducted the Operation Cut Back and the Operation Plant Back. And in week six of 2013, we would have moved to the region 1,812 boxes through WINFRESH, while to the extra region, 990 boxes, and we have gotten the numbers from one ripening room, 198, which is a total of 3,000 boxes,” Caesar revealed.

The agriculture minister, however, noted that local banana farmers are not the only ones battling the Black Sigatoka disease, as farms all over the world are affected, he said.

Caesar referred to the Ecuadorian government’s plans to implement measures that will cut back that country’s banana-growing surface area by 50,000 acres, because of the Black Sigatoka disease.

The decision by larger banana producers to cut back may now open opportunities for smaller banana producers, such as St Vincent and the Grenadines, whose industries are now in the recovery stage, Caesar added.

“It is only logical that with some of the larger producers definitely cutting back their supplies on the market, that there is a significant possibility that if they continue in this downward trend in terms of reducing their supply, that there can be an increase for the price of bananas on the world market,” he said.

In order to maintain the banana industry here, Caesar urged farmers to maintain the partnership established between the ministry and farmers.

“The important role of the farmers is to ensure that the proper de-leafing practices are conducted and that they work very closely with their field officers.

“So, we are really working hard to keep things together with the banana industry,” Caesar stated. (AA)