By Geraldine Bicette-Joseph
CASTRIES, St Lucia, (GIS) – Minister for agriculture, fisheries, food security and rural development, Alfred Prosper at a sitting of the House of Assembly, Tuesday, August 9, stated that the fortunes of Saint Lucia’s banana industry were changing for the better.
“I am pleased to report that we have recommenced the shipment of bananas to the UK for the past nine weeks. To date we were able to restore production levels to our contractual obligations of 2000 boxes a week as of the end of July 2022. The hard work and commitment of our farmers, field officers, the Banana Task Force and the NFTO has paid off.”
The minister added that there was still work to be done. “The UK banana market is highly competitive. Once you loose your spot on the market shelves it becomes an uphill battle to regain that position. Farmers, we must focus on keeping with international standards in order to gain competitive advantage.
He continued: “The banana industry is significantly impacted by the high fuel prices. We are restricted by the limited shipping options available to us in the region. On average our bananas take 21 days to reach the UK, while our competitors can export theirs to the UK in 12 to 18 days. The extended journey time can result in quality issues for our bananas. I think it is now time for us to explore all of our shipping options in an effort to reduce costs and travel time.”