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St Lucia moving to expand banana trade


St Lucia moving to expand banana trade

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Castries – The St Lucia government says it is encouraged by the talks held with an established buyer on the possibility of using Antigua as a distribution hub for the sale of bananas to countries in the region

“Currently, we are moving between 2 000 and 2 500 [boxes] per week. But we have asked for the possibility of increasing it to 8 000 because we believe the opportunity exists for additional distribution to Antigua, St Kitts, St Thomas and St Maarten,” Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development Minister, Alfred Prospere said.

Prospere had last year led a delegation in a bid to secure new and existing banana markets and, following the most recent research efforts by Export St Lucia and the National Fair Trade Organisation (NFTO), it landed a new market in Antigua with the first shipment of 460 boxes arriving in that Caribbean island at the end of last month.

“I applaud St Lucia’s farmers because the quality of the fruit exported was encouraging. Antigua has expressed interest in importing high quality bananas, as we have been doing for export to the United Kingdom.

“We need now to ensure that we work toward maintaining and improving that quality so that bananas can continue to be exported to the UK and other countries in the region,” Prospere said.

The minister said he is encouraged by the feedback with the “established buyer” in Antigua due to the high level of interest shown.

The Ministry of Agriculture said its focus remains on securing existing banana markets and expanding into new regional and international markets and that farmers are encouraged to ensure that the quality of the bananas produced remains among their highest priorities. (CMC/)