Last week, the Saint Lucia Labour Party stated its belief that as regular shipments of bananas from Saint Lucia to the UK have been curtailed significantly, there is unease among banana farmers and leaders about the immediate future of the still vital industry.
However, a spokesperson from the National Fair Trade Organization (NFTO) denies that the curtailing of shipments can be attributed to a collapse -or near collapse- of the local banana industry? The banana output is expected to increase come November.
Efforts by The Voice to determine whether shipments of bananas to the UK had indeed been curtailed were unsuccessful after reaching out to the Office of the Permanent Secretary of Agriculture and the Banana Production and Improvement Project for comment.
Former Agriculture Minister Moses 'Musa' Jn Baptiste said: "Banana shipments have now been reduced to one container of banana boxes per week containing approximately one thousand boxes," and that "shipments over the last two years moved from twelve containers to seven to five and now to one."
"Information reaching the Saint Lucia Labour Party indicates that one exporter has been handling exporting of the fruit to the UK and business arrangements with that exporter to have a regular and increasing supply of bananas to the UK market have not met the expectations of farmers, who were promised by the UWP government and Prime Minister an increase to 60,000 tonnes of fruit in exports annually," Jn Baptiste said.