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Banana farmers ask for support to continue

Banana farmers ask for support to continue


Banana farmers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have expressed their thanks to government for the assistance given to them in their time of need, and have asked for the budgetary support to continue.{{more}}

The letter, dated October 24, came from Winfarm Investment Company Ltd., and was signed by Henry Keizer, Manager of the company.

Keizer said he was directed, on behalf of the Farmers, to say thank you to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and the government “for the initiative to give continuing and further assistance to Banana Farmers, in this their time of great need, following the destruction of their banana crop by the dreaded Black Sigatoka Leafspot disease”.

The letter said the prime minister’s commitment to allocate over EC$4.0 million to ensure that a robust spray control regime is maintained for 2012 is also “very commendable”.

Keizer said that the government’s Budgetary support of $100,000 over five months to May 31, 2011, allowed them to remain in operational existence, and he appealed to the Prime Minister for the continuation of support of $20,000 a month, “in order for us to remain in a reduced state of operation to guide the Farmers over this difficult period”.

Keizer explained that the significantly reduced production of bananas has put Winfarm in a precarious financial position.

“Since exports resumed in June 2011, we continue to effect losses in spite of our reductions in expenses. Fiscal 2011 over Fiscal 2010… including reducing working hours by 50% for 50% pay per month”.

He was however optimistic about the future, and said banana lends itself to quick recovery as it is a very resilient crop.

“The assistance and support will go a long way to restore Farmer confidence and commitment and the rebuilding of the Industry on which so many livelihoods depend.

“History will record that never in the over 50 years of the existence of the Banana Industry that a government has responded to, and given so much support and assistance in quantum and frequency amidst this global Financial crunch…and it will be remembered with reverence for a long time to come,” Winfarm’s letter said.