Agriculture Minister Lauds EU’s Support for Banana Industry


Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke has thanked the European Union (EU) for its contribution to the development and diversification of the banana industry over the last nine years, noting that the assistance was an indication of the group’s commitment to improving the efficiency and profitability of the industry.
Minister Clarke was giving the main address at the official handing over of planting material to farmers for the resuscitation of the industry, following Hurricane Ivan last September. The presentation was made on Thursday (Feb.17) at Boundbrook Wharf in Port Antonio.
He informed that since 1996, the EU has committed over $2.8 billion to the industry through the Banana Support Programme and the support had enabled the sector to improve its export crop to contribute significantly to the national economy. The country earns on average, US$28 million from the export of banana annually, and the figure is expected to increase to US$35 million within the next three years.The Agriculture Minister said that the government was fully committed to working with the EU to improve the industry’s efficiency and competitiveness and assured the farmers that the Ministry would provide them with full support as they grappled with the challenges with which they were faced.
During the function, a total of $288 million worth of farm supplies, including fertilizers and herbicides, were handed over to the Banana Export Company (BECo) for distribution to small and medium scale farmers.
In his remarks, Gerd Jarchow, head of delegation for the European Commission in Jamaica, said that his organization was happy to be able to provide the assistance and assured that the EU was committed to the long-term support of the sector.
Dr. Marshall Hall, Chairman of BECo, also thanked the EU for the assistance and expressed confidence that the banana industry would be back into full production by the middle of the year.

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