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Jamaican Bananas for Trinidad
December 18, 2017
Banana and plantain farmer Winsome Crosdale (left) shows off a bunch of her bananas during a tour of her Global GAP certified farm in Spring Garden, Portland, along with (from left) Janet Conie, General Manager, The Banana Board; Ricard Bardia Divins and Stefano Cilli of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica, Belize, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Island. The tour was part of Banana Day activities organised by The Banana Board to highlight its achievements under the Banana Export Expansion Programme and the Jamaica Banana Accompany Measures Programme funded by the Government of Jamaica and the European Union.

Starting December 21, Jamaica will be exporting one container of bananas per week to Trinidad as part of its export thrust, which was restarted in 2013. This announcement was made by Janet Conie, General Manager of The Banana Board, at the Banana Day Observation and Farm Tours held in Portland on December 15, 2017.

Since 2013, there has been a steady increase in banana production from over 33,000 tonnes up to 58,701 metric tonnes in 2016. Export of bananas has been on the increase, moving from 78 tonnes in 2013 to 411 tonnes in 2016 with earnings of $47.7 million, following the devastation of the industry in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy.

Through a 4.73 million-euro grant funding from the Government of Jamaica and the European Union, some 1,000 farmers in traditional banana-dependent areas have benefitted from capacity building training and technical advice under the Jamaica Banana Accompanying Measures Programme, which ran from November 2013 and ends this December 2017 and the Banana Export Expansion Programme, which ran from 2015 and will end in January 2018.

Resulting from the implementation of these programmes, the banana industry has experienced a 7.5% increase in productivity, moving from 15 tonnes per hectare to 18,000 tonnes over the 2011 levels. In addition, production of bananas and plantains has increased by 26% in 2016 over 2011 to 102,138 tonnes.

Hon Daryl Vaz, Member of Parliament for West Portland, who was speaking on behalf of the Hon Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, commended the farmers who have received Global GAP certification.

“Global GAP certification is the stamp of approval for our produce and the passport to international trade,” said Minister Vaz, as he stressed the importance of applying the best standards and best agronomic practices in order to increase and be assured of the sustainability of the industry.

He also had high praises for the work of The Banana Board and the All Island Banana Growers’ Association for their outstanding work in the redevelopment of the banana industry.