Saint Lucia Banana Production Exceeding Demand – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Banana production in Saint Lucia is above what the market demands, Agriculture Minister Alfred Prospere has disclosed.

The excess production starkly contrasts with last year.

At that time, Prospere expressed concern that Saint Lucia was failing to meet the desired 15,000 boxes weekly market demand for banana exports.

The shortfall was due to Tropical Storm Bret destroying more than seventy-five percent of the Island’s banana and plantain crops in June 2023, and farmers were still recovering.

But that has now changed.

“We have more production on the ground than we can market or export,” the Agriculture Minister said.

He said he learned that the Dominican Republic and Suriname provide Barbados with bananas, making things difficult for local exporters.

Questioned regarding reports that producers were giving bananas to pig farmers to feed their animals, Prospere said he had heard of the situation.

“I was a little surprised when I heard that because I am saying those bananas could have been sold by the market or provided to the schools. But again, that is just what I have been hearing. I hope it is something that will not continue,” the Minister stated.

“Our bananas are too important to be used for that purpose,” Prospere explained.

He told reporters on the margins of Tuesday’s House of Assembly meeting that he had spoken to the National Fair Trade Organization (NFTO).

“When I engaged NFTO I was told we have a surplus now,” the Minister stated.

Prospere said the NFTO revealed that the market demand was not what the organisation expected.

Nevertheless, the Minister revealed that he engaged a new buyer on Monday regarding exporting bananas to St. Thomas.

However, Prospere explained that the time the exports would arrive, within seven to eight days, was an issue.

Despite that, he hoped Saint Lucia would get the new buyer.

“At this time of the year, we expect high production. It is not the first time because we are getting the consistent rains,” the Minister told reporters.

At the same time, he emphasised that the NFTO and the other exporters, are private entities exporting bananas.

Prospere said the Government does not manage the NFTO, but will continue to support banana farmers.

In addition, he hoped that the situation of excess banana production would not continue.

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