Storm im­pact on St. Lu­cia cre­ates op­por­tu­nity for Vincy ba­nanas

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

The im­pact of Trop­i­cal Storm Kirk on ba­nana cul­ti­va­tion in Saint Lu­cia is cre­at­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties for Vin­cen­tian ba­nanas on the re­gional mar­ket, Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture Saboto Cae­sar told Par­lia­ment on Thurs­day.

Cae­sar said he has noted on sev­eral oc­ca­sions that the main fo­cus of Vin­cen­tian traders is to ex­plore fully the re­gional mar­ket and to se­cure greater mar­ket share in the re­gion.

“We never closed the door on the UK mar­ket and this is clear from our con­tin­ued sup­port in ac­tively en­gag­ing farm­ers and farm­ers' or­gan­i­sa­tions in pur­su­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion nec­es­sary for ex­tra-re­gional trade in ba­nanas. And we will con­tinue to as­sist,” he said in re­sponse to a ques­tion tabled by Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for East Kingstown, an op­po­si­tion law­maker.

Eus­tace wanted to know if ship­ments of ba­nanas from St. Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines to the United King­dom would re­sume at the end of 2018 and about the pro­jected ex­ports for Jan­uary to June 2019.

The min­is­ter said that in the af­ter­math of Trop­i­cal Storm Kirk in Saint Lu­cia, that coun­try has seen an ap­prox­i­mately 40 per cent re­duc­tion in the ex­port of ba­nanas to the re­gion.

He said that St. Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines has con­tacted Win­fresh to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion of sup­ply and de­mand from the Wind­ward Is­lands and the is­sue of emerg­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for SVG.

“We are await­ing a re­sponse,” he said, adding that at the same time, the re­duc­tion in Saint Lu­cia's abil­ity to sup­ply the re­gional mar­ket be­cause of the cy­clone has opened an­other op­por­tu­nity for SVG to in­crease its ex­port to the re­gional mar­ket.

“In fact, farm­ers have noted that traders who trade on the Bar­ba­dos mar­ket for ba­nanas, since trop­i­cal Storm Kirk in Saint Lu­cia, that they are see­ing greater take-up in that mar­ket,” the agri­cul­ture min­is­ter told law­mak­ers.

He said that the pro­jec­tion for Jan­uary to June 2019, based on the trend for the past years, is be­tween 1,000 and 1,500 tonnes.

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