Farmers to receive 15,000 banana plantlets from Israel
June 24, 2014

Farmers to receive 15,000 banana plantlets from Israel

The banana industry in St Vincent and the Grenadines should benefit soon from a boost in the coming months.

Through the continued friendship between the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Government of Israel, the Ministry of Agriculture was the recipient of 15,000 {{more}}banana plantlets, which is expected to be distributed to farmers in two months time.

“I want to say a sincere thanks to the Government and people of Israel for partnering with us as we work to develop the agricultural sector of SVG,” Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar said at a press conference yesterday.

The Minister pointed out that this was not the first time that Israel has donated plantlets. In fact, he highlighted that approximately 50,000 plantlets were donated eight months ago from Israeli company, Merristem.

“I also want to note that in discussion with the Ambassador, he noted that the Government and people of Israel are willing to work with the Ministry of Agriculture in training and this is going to be very important, especially as we are embarking on the BAM program and one of the areas of assistance; one of the areas that the government of Israel is willing to assist with is greenhouse production which is an integral part of BAM,” he said.

In brief remarks, Israeli ambassador Amiram Magid stated that when he heard of the last Christmas Eve disaster, he engaged his government to come up with suggestions to help the country.

As ambassador to six Caribbean islands and CARICOM for the past five years, he acknowledged the damage that can be caused by nature.

“I have had the opportunity to witness, firsthand, the fragile equilibrium between the beauty and the bounty of the island’s nature. On each occasion, the rage and violence, climate change and the severe weather phenomena pose significant challenge to the nations of the Caribbean and the international community can do much more to help,” Magid said.

In reference to the donated plantlets, the Israeli ambassador addressed the issue of Black Sigatoka and noted that while there is not yet a cure for the plant disease, the tissue cultured plants are resilient.

“We cannot find a solution to the Black Sigatoka. I know that this is something that was introduced in the region in the last years; you’ve been affected by it; I know that scientists are trying to find a solution to it; so far I can say that I’m not an expert, but I can say what I’ve heard from the director of the Merristem Company, that their plants are quite more resilient than the usual ones. If it can avoid or prevent the Black Sigatoka – No, but let’s wait and see,” he said.

The plantlets are currently at the tissue culture lab in Orange Hill and are expected to be transported by the Ministry of Agriculture to assist farmers that do not have transportation for these plants.(BK)