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Fairtrade farmers discuss issues affecting bananas

Fairtrade farmers discuss issues affecting bananas


A call for greater cooperation among stakeholders, has been made by the speakers at the 9th General Assembly of the Fair Trade Farmers Association.{{more}}

Under the theme “Farmers Revitalize, Become Certified, Keep Banana Alive”, the meeting, held discussions on matters affecting the banana industry, ratified the minutes of the 2008 general assembly, and held elections for various posts on several committees.

At the opening ceremony on Thursday May 7th, the local and visiting farmers, who gathered at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown, were urged to work closer with other organizations, to increase the sustainability of the crop which once ruled in the region.

The speakers acknowledged the decline in banana production in the region, and noted that farmers faced many challenges. They called, however, for the challenges to be confronted, which, they said, can be done collectively through cooperation and partnerships.

WINFA coordinator Renwick Rose, speaking at the assembly, said that farmers and their organizations need to reach out to other institutions and make better use of the partnerships they are already involved in, if they are to get the most for the industry.

“We have to work out partnerships with other agricultural institutions that we are not taking advantage of. We have to tap on organizations like the OAS, IICA and discuss frankly with them how we could work concretely together to advance the interest of the farmer.”

“Our partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture continues to be very important, because the ministry is there as a supportive mechanism for agriculture.”

Also speaking at the meeting was Minister of Agriculture, Montgomery Daniel, who reaffirmed his ministry’s dedication to the industry and also called for farmers to build stronger ties in the region.

“I want to assure this assembly that the Ministry of Agriculture, will continue to work in harmony with WINFA, Fair Trade and all of the farmers and institutions. General partnerships are critical for our own growth and development.”

Other persons speaking at the assembly included director of the St. Lucia National Fair Trade Organisation Julius Polius, Charles Watty of the Dominica Fair Trade Organisation, WINFA President Marcella Harris and Philemon Allen, Chairman of the National Fair Trade Organisation.

Meanwhile, Allen was re-elected as the head of the committee, at elections held during the assembly. Harvey Dick-Caine was elected deputy chairman, while Nyoka Abbott returns to the post of secretary. The new assistant secretary is Cordelia Scott, with Calvin Herbert reelected as treasurer and Anton Brown the new PRO. The trustees are Philip Andrews and Gideon Gilbert. (JJ)