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The banana industry has received support from the European Union in an effort to strengthen and improve the competitiveness of Jamaica’s banana export market.

Minister with responsibility for Information Daryl Vaz told  today’s (April 6) post cabinet press briefing that  a grant of J$30 million was contributed to the Hurricane Dean Material Programme.  He said an additional J$9 million was contributed by the farmers. The fund stood at J$45 million at the end of the period (2008) and is expected to grow with regular contributions by the farmers,” Minister Vaz said.  

Mr. Vaz  said the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries submitted the annual report of the Banana Board 2008 to Cabinet which highlighted that the banana industry was devastated during that period, so much  so that Jamaica Producers, the major exporter of bananas, made a decision to cease export activities.

“As a direct result of the changes to the European Union Trade regime, a concerted effort was made during the period to promote the diversification of the industry."

Minister Vaz added that the Banana Research Department utilized funds disbursed to effectively carry out its core functions. He said the Department tracked and treated the Sigatoka and Moko diseases which have improved the quality of crops.

The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries will table the Annual Report in Parliament at a later date..

 

Issued by: The Office of the Prime Minister