Relief Fund for Fruit Producers in Guadeloupe

Overseas Minister Marie-Luce Penchard has announced that she will establish a relief fund to compensate producers of melons and bananas (and possibly other products) from Guadeloupe whose crops were ruined by volcanic ash from the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in Montserrat. After the February 11 eruption, melon and banana plantations were suffocated by ashes. Melon producers announced a fall of 80 % of their exports intended in Europe and some experts have said that the volcanic disaster caused a loss of about 20,000 tons of bananas.

Minister Penchard was visiting stands representing organizations and communities overseas at the Porte de Versailles Agriculture Exhibition in Paris. She explained that she was waiting for a report from the report from authorities in Guadeloupe in order to take further steps for an emergency fund to help farmers “because production has suffered and national solidarity should come into play.” The Prefecture of Guadeloupe organized a joint fact-finding mission, led by the administration and agricultural professionals to establish “a detailed report about the agronomic and economic impact of volcanic ash” on productions and to determine the impact of this agricultural disaster on production.

Penchard,  who is from Guadeloupe, had been recently criticized for having told an electoral meeting that her desire was “to serve a population, the Guadeloupean population,” said that she “had always said that she was the Overseas Minister, the Minister of all Overseas [territories].”

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