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Organizations to cushion expected banana price collapse

Organizations to cushion expected banana price collapse

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A ‘Special Savings’ initiated at the beginning of the year by the Windward Islands Banana Development and Export Company (WIBDECO) and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Banana Growers Association (SVGBGA) is geared to assist banana farmers as banana export prices are expected to fall over the next six months.{{more}}

At an emergency press conference on Monday at the Ministry of Agriculture’s conference room, Agriculture Minister Montgomery Daniel announced that a total of EC$130,000 was set aside to compensate farmers.

Surrounded by other agriculture and banana officials, the Minister said that the move will stave off what would have been a volatile situation in the industry.

“The WIBDECO board realized the first half of the year is usually better than the second half; what the board would have done is ask for a special saving (of $1 per box ) to the fall of prices at the second half of the year.”

The Minister indicated that this money was originally earmarked for farmers to boost their fields at the beginning of the next production year, and assured farmers that projections indicate that there would be funds remaining to do so.

“I want to assure the farmers that whatever is left will be given to them.

The banana industry is still very important to St. Vincent and the Grenadines; though its contribution is just over one percent (EC $27 million) to the Gross Domestic Product, we cannot take the industry lightly.”

Daniel reassured farmers that his government continues to do as much as it can to help the industry and farmers.

He highlighted the fight against MOKO and Leaf Spot where some fields have already been replanted and in excellent condition, as well as the continued subsidization of fertilizers.

“Let us continue to ensure that production of banana is increased,” Daniel urged. “We cannot throw our hands in the air. Let us continue to hold on to an industry that is very important to us.”

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