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Fertilizer shipment to arrive this week, after one-month delay

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A shipment of fertilizer is expected to arrive here this week after a one-month delay.{{more}}

Lennox Francis, general manager of the Agriculture Input Warehouse, told SEARCHLIGHT the arrival of fertilizer was delayed and the original correspondence indicated that the shipment was expected to arrive today – Tuesday.

Another correspondence indicated that the shipment of fertilizer is expected on Friday.

“We had some shipping problems and that was the cause,” Francis said, adding that there was no control over the situation.

“We have been waiting over a month for this thing to come … shipping around this time is now a problem,” he added.

He further explained that the route for the fertilizer had changed and that the item was at the port in St Lucia.

The boat went to Trinidad last week without picking up the stuff to be dropped off in St Vincent, Francis said.

The general manager explained that St Lucia had become the hub and then containers with goods are sent on down through the islands.

But it there is more cargo bound for Trinidad, which was the case, that country gets priority.

At a meeting of Fair Trade farmers on Thursday, Philemon Allen, chairman of the Fair Trade Farmers Organization, said farmers were complaining that fertilizer had been out of the system for a while.

“And we think these things need to be addressed if we want to keep the [banana] industry,” Allen said.

He said that fertilizer has been out of the system for about a month.

And the quality reports coming back from England indicate that there are major issues with the quality of fruit, attributed to a deficiency in nutrients.

Allen explained that the fruit takes longer to develop and mature properly.

“So, in ripening it is a different shade and in the market place that is the problem,” the Fair Trade chair said.

But Francis said the delay was not a matter of finance, but with transport, which, he said, was having a similar impact on sugar.

“We were expecting our sugar last week too the container was delayed and there was a problem getting in white sugar,” he said.

When banana production was higher, Francis explained, the input warehouse used to charter a boat.

“So, we were able to tell you when it was coming. Right now we have no control,” Francis said.

“We did in fact put out a notice that there has been a delay and we apologize to the farming community,” Francis said, adding that the notice was sent to three or four radio stations. (DD)

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