JIS News

The European Union (EU) has approved $280 million for the resuscitation of the banana industry following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan last September.
Vincent Thompson, Manager for the EU’s Banana Support Programme, told JIS News that the initiative was part of the EU’s long-term commitment to improve the efficiency of the sector and enhance competitiveness.
He said the assistance would be distributed in the form of inputs such as fertilizer and chemicals for disease control, and would enhance efforts by the Banana Export Company to provide farmers with the necessary material support to aid in the replanting process.
Mr. Thompson expressed appreciation to the EU for the support to the banana industry over the years and expressed confidence that the assistance would enable farmers to become resilient and overcome the challenges with which they were confronted.
A total of 2,280 hectares of crop were destroyed in the six principal banana-producing parishes, with 100 per cent of standing crop and 95 per cent of maiden crop lost. Some 8,000 farmers were affected.
Mr. Thompson said that the industry was recovering satisfactorily, with all domestic and export producers already replanting. He estimated that production would be at 20 per cent of pre-Ivan levels by March and all farms were projected to be back in full production by the end of July.

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