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Bermuda: Pests hinder banana imports

Bermuda’s banana crisis is continuing as importers and officials struggle to find a solution to pest problems in imported fruit. Some shops used signs to tell customers that bananas will be unavailable “until further notice” and one said it had added a frozen version to its shelves after mealybugs and scale affected imported fruit.

Peter Tobin, the president and general manager of the consumer products division at food distribution firm Butterfield & Vallis, said: “Until such time that a sustainable solution to the challenge of the mealybug infestation is found, B & V does not plan on importing bananas.”

He added that the company, which used to bring in about 430 cases of bananas a week, gave the Department of Environment and Natural Resources four cases of the fruit this week so different cleaners could be tested on them.

The government announced last month that Bermuda could expect “a temporary shortage of bananas in the coming weeks due to pest contaminations of imported banana shipments”. quoted a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs, as saying: “Some new avenues for importing clean bananas are now being pursued by the private sector and DENR is working with them to facilitate.”

The spokeswoman added that customers missed the fruit. Tredick Gorham, the company president, explained: “Bananas are normally the number one fruit or vegetable that any produce department sells so when we can’t get them for different reasons, obviously it has an impact.”




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