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Haiti to begin banana exports

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Competition on the world banana market is becoming more intense, placing greater pressure on small-scale producers, especially in the Caribbean and the Windward Islands in particular.

The Windwards are already struggling to maintain their marginal foothold on the European (British) market.{{more}} Their trade preferences have been severely eroded, exposing them to stiffer competition from cheaper Latin American and African bananas. Black sigatoka and moko diseases have wreaked havoc with the industry and a succession of natural disasters have made a bad situation even worse.

As production in the Windward Islands has fallen, other producers in the wider Caribbean have been moving to fill the breach. More than 70 per cent of the exports to the UK by the Windwards sole extra-regional exporter, WINFRESH, now comes from the Dominican Republic and both this country and Suriname are muscling into regional markets once dominated by the Windwards.

Now there is word from Haiti, (according to the authoritative REEFER TRENDS magazine), that Haiti is to enter the export market. In a report dated October 13, the magazine revealed that, according to Haitian President Martelly, the first containers of Haitian banana exports, organic bananas at that, are expected to leave Haitian shores in July next year. Destination? The United Kingdom and the Caribbean!

These exports are slated to come from a US$27 million project with two million seedlings of organic bananas planted on 2,200 acres. The project involves some 3,000 farmers, using modern equipment, irrigation pumps and an artificial lake containing 700,000 gallons of water. Over 3,000 jobs are expected to be created in the process.

The banana world continues to evolve and we must either evolve with it or perish.