Banana Industry Critical to Agricultural Development
During a sitting of the House of Parliament held on Tuesday, Oct. 31, the Hon. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-Operatives gave some positive insight into the current status of the banana industry.
Within his opening statement, the Hon. Minister Ezechiel Joseph commented on what he stated were the accomplishments made by the industry over the last few months. The minister stated that the sector had always been an important component in the growth of the nation, and that the sector continues to hold such a position.
“Despite the many problems facing the banana industry, the Government of Saint Lucia, and by extension the Ministry of Agriculture, considers the banana industry a critical component to our agriculture development thrust. The industry believes that this commodity continues to play a vital role in the economic development of our country generate employment and secure food security for thousands of households who reside in our rural communities.”
The minister referenced the Banana Productivity Improvement Project, an initiative which the government continues to push in an effort to help banana farmers yield greater results. The initiative aids by helping farmers with finances, climate change resilience efforts and by reducing the price of fertilizer by 50 percent.
In his 2017 budget address, the Prime Minister Allen Chastanet made mention of the Banana Productivity Improvement Project and finances towards the implementation of that project.
“The project aims in the short term to restore or improve the quality or livelihood of rural folk, to bring stability to the banana industry, and to ensure that the industry is viable in the short to medium term.
The project will restore farmers’ confidence in the banana industry that will encourage them to get involved in banana production. It’s target over the next 3-4 years is to increase acreage from 1400 to 2400 acres. By accomplishing the above we are expected to see a decline in productivity and an improvement of production from its current levels.”
Papers laid at the sitting by the honourable minister included Statutory Instrument No. 90 of 2017- Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations.