Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse met today with the Banana Growers Association in the Stann Creek District. The banana industry is one that saw several challenges in recent history but things may be looking up according to Minister Hulse.
“Well first of all I met with the Banana Growers Association that was an excellent meeting because as you know there are some concerns particularly with BREXIT and what will happen with our trade preferences with the European Union so we had that to discuss. Also the matter of the continued agreement with Fyfes who is our major trading partner and also a producer in the banana industry those are issues of concern to the banana farmers and of course to be reassured by government that we will do all in our power to try to maintain the status quo with the European Union and of course with the United Kingdom if and when they do exit. That is still a long ways away in our estimation but we have to be vigilant in that regard so that meeting went reasonably well.”
October 2015 saw hundreds of employees laid off from the Meridian Farms after a significant portion of their export market was taken away when US authorities linked John Zabaneh to the drug industry. Minister Hulse says that despite that the industry should fully recover in about a year.
“There was as a result of Mayan King closing down which was John Zabaneh’s farm and I understand that that was roughly 13.8% or there about of the whole industry. Since that time other farmers have come in to the industry and as I understand they’re building back and by 2018 they should have recovered the whole of that those fields that were in fact out of production, that same quantity so we should be back to normal. It is my understanding that next year’s yields should be very good granted we don’t have any more natural disasters: floods or anything. So the banana industry is poised to really come back and begin to be the foreign exchange earner it once was.”
Minister Hulse took over the reins of the agriculture ministry last month. Since then he has been familiarizing himself with all the production sectors around the country.