St Lucia: In 2021, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development – Alfred Prospere led the St Lucian delegation embarked on a quest to secure existing and new banana markets to assure the prosperity of the sector.
Recently, new research was conducted by the Export St Lucia and the National Fair Trade Organization (NFTO), under which a new market was secured in Antigua. At the end of the previous month (March), the first shipment of 460 boxes arrived in Antigua and Barbuda.
Following the success, the Agriculture Minister stated the growth of the sector had been highly affected due to maintaining high quality and consistent quantity of banana exports.
The Minister further applauded the farmers of St Lucia for encouraging the quality of the exported fruit. The government of Antigua and Barbuda has expressed interest in importing high-quality bananas as our government has done for export to the UK.
He further stated, “Now, we all need to work harder so that we can ensure that we are maintaining and improving the banana quality so that the fruit can continue exports to the United Kingdom and other nations in the region.”
The Minister further stated that he has an interaction with the established buyer on the possibility of using Antigua as a distribution hub for surrounding countries in the region. “The meeting ended with positive feedback, and a high level of interest was shown,” the Minister stated.
“For now, St Lucia has been moving between 2000 and 2500 per week. But we have asked to increase the value to 8000 because we believe the opportunity exists for additional distribution to Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis, St Thomas and St Maarten.”
He added that the focus of the Ministry would remain on securing and guarding the existing banana markets as well as must work towards expanding the exports in regional as well as international markets. The Agriculture Minister has been encouraging the St Lucian farmers to ensure the quality of bananas remains their highest priority.