Banana Production Still Alive in Jamaica

BBC Caribbean reports that “In a formula that might be considered by producers elsewhere in the region, Jamaican banana growers are ‘keeping it local,’” as a strategy for keeping the industry from slipping further. Jamaica is using a combination of niche marketing and developing their own value-added products such as banana chips to keep the industry afloat. Jamaican banana industry officials say that they are selling more of the fruit locally, including to the tourist trade.

Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below.

When Jamaica decided to discontinue the export of banana there were moans of trepidation amongst some local farmers. But some two years after that decision those fears and concerns are beginning to recede. Hobbled by the loss of preferential treatment in Europe, the sector was dealt a body blow in 2008 by Tropical Storm Gustav which wiped out banana trees and left farmers pondering their fate.

But cultivators who stayed in banana production and renewed their focus on the local market are now raking in higher returns. Agriculture Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton told BBC Caribbean that initiatives such as a European Union funded programme focusing on local consumption has driven the effort. “We launched an ‘eat local’ campaign, in conjunction with the European Union (EU), to promote more local consumption of the product.

* * *

Last December the EU and Latin American banana producing nations signed an agreement ending the longest trade dispute in European Union history. In a deal reluctantly accepted by some regional banana growers, high EU tariffs on Latin American bananas were cut, further increasing pressure on the region’s long-established banana market in Europe, particularly Britain. Some Caribbean countries had said that their economies will be devastated by the deal. 

For full article, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2010/02/100223_jamaicabananas.shtml

Photo and link to related article, “Caribbean: More criticism of EU-Latin American banana deal,” see http://www.caribbeandailynews.com/?p=2752

Photo credit: www.elements4health.com

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