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We need to look for alternative markets

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Tue, Apr 17. 2012

Editor: This author does not agree with the argument that bananas coming from ACP countries cannot compete with Latin American bananas on the European market, and hence should be given preferential access to this market. I see the world as one global community and I believe that consumer preference is more important than government imposed quotas in driving trade.{{more}} It costs more to produce bananas in the Windward Islands than in Latin America. In Latin America, farms are larger and labour is cheaper, this will aid in producing bananas more efficiently. If such is the case, then so be it for now. Until or unless things change, then it is up to us to decide what strategies to take to make ourselves more competitive. If we keep focused on this concept, we may find ourselves better adapted to the changed global environment. We need to keep looking at alternative marketing strategies and for alternative markets.

Claiming that it is immoral to remove the preferential treatment provided to Windward Island bananas is folly. Are the citizens of the Windward Islands more human than anyone else? Do we have needs and circumstances that do not exist elsewhere? What of the poor workers in Latin America? Are their needs any less than ours? Of course our argument is based on self preservation. Who are we that our interests should be looked after, above the interests of everyone else? We are sometimes led to believe that ours is a struggle between grass roots people and wealthy multinational corporations, but it goes deeper than that on more than one levels (as what is written above aids in illustrating). Also, what is so immoral about being a wealthy multinational corporation, unless they are involved in immorality? Does the simple act of being wealthy make one inherently immoral? (These questions are provided more so for pondering and discussion, i.e. they are not as rhetorical as they seem). What one does with their wealth, helps to determine their resultant financial status. Hence, one may ask, how can there be high levels of extraordinary individual wealth in a world filled with high levels of suffering? This can lead one to assume that the very presence of wealth in a suffering world to be a form of immorality if that wealth is not seen as being used for justified purposes. This takes us back to the morality of multinational corporations and whether they are to be antagonized simply for being wealthy and competitive against smaller poorer entities. As a Christian, I am very careful about how I tread on certain grounds. A biblical view has been provided on wealth and I figure that it ties in with the above questions. What one needs is a better understanding of what is provided in the bible and figure out how they apply to the situations around us.

Ultimately, it is amazing how quickly we cry foul at others but not at ourselves. While we complain about the security of our banana markets, we import a lot of processed food and ingredients from foreign sources to satisfy our food calorie needs, the same calories that are provided by bananas and other fruits. A change in our dietary culture will be necessary if we are to properly adapt to the world we live in. Much of the food importation or processing that we do is not completely necessary, at least not at the levels that we process or import them, simply because local and fresher alternatives already exist. Many of the imported processed snacks we consume can be replaced by fresh fruits and other unprocessed and lightly processed plant sources of food. These are healthier options and their use is financially beneficial, through a reduction in imported goods and through reduced stress on the health care system. I must confess that my problem is not so much with the fact that we import so much of our food as it is with the highly processed and unhealthy nature of such food. However, we must also be cautious of imported fruits and vegetables, because we are not always completely aware of the standards used in their cultivation and packaging. As with anything I write, I attempt to present an objective and well researched view on topics; however, I am not perfect. As with anything presented by others, one should always make an attempt to research views and information presented in order to develop their own informed views on things.

Shamal Connell

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