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Allen hails Fair Trade meeting a success

Allen hails Fair Trade meeting a success


Despite several concerns being raised by farmers, Chairman of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Fair Trade Organization, Philemon Allen has hailed the organization’s 12th General Assembly as “rather successful”.{{more}}

The assembly, held on August 2 at the Methodist Church Hall under the theme “Producing quality fruits for survival of the industry”, attracted a wide cross section of banana farmers.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday, Allen explained that a number of changes were made to the agenda which allowed an early completion of the assembly.

“We tried to be more specific and to give people more time to express their opinions and to have discussions,” Allen said.

He however disclosed that there were a few individuals who were not clear on certain matters that were discussed, but before the completion of the day’s meeting, “all was clear”.

“It went down well because what we did was to try and get the reports out to all the groups so they can go through them and have a full understanding…,” he added.

One of the main concerns raised by farmers was the suspension of the special pack bananas which has been effect since June 20, 2011.

“The quality” of the special pack bananas “which is not up to standard at this point” was also discussed, Allen said.

“It not a gratifying price that we are receiving now for bananas. Unless you get the special pack you cannot get a good price…

“There are certain criteria one has to meet to obtain that [special pack],” the SVGFTO Chairman stated.

According to Allen, special pack bananas being shipped from SVG “must have consistency of 85 per cent and a PUWS [percentage per unit within specification] of about 90 per cent.”

He revealed that “at times we reach about PUWS and consistency of over 70 per cent.”

“There are some trivial issues that we have to deal with. Things that we think should be able to get us up to that level … So we have to deal with those things before we could regain the special pack.

“When I said that in the meeting, some people didn’t like that but you have to be realistic,” Allen stated.

Among the other matters discussed at last week’s assembly were the execution of a work plan for the organization, the financial report, national committee report as well as the elections of a Executive Committee.

Following the elections, the eight-member Executive Committee remained unchanged with Philemon Allen re-elected Chairman, Phillip Andrews as Deputy Chairman, Calvin Herbert – Treasurer, Anne Hacksaw Assistant Treasurer, Nioka Abbott Balcombe – Secretary, Deniston Samuel – Public Relations Officer and Gideon Gilbert and Solomon Buttler, the Committee’s two Trustees. (AA)