Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is to provide $50 million to the Banana Board, as emergency aid to assist banana and plantain farmers whose fields suffered extensive damage from tropical storm Grace.
Although this funding is well short of the estimated $300 million in losses the farmers suffered, Portfolio Minister Floyd Green explained the 50-million injection is necessary to stimulate the sector. “The loss to the sector is coming out at about 29 per cent of our banana and plantain sector. So that is significant and we have to get that sector back up and running as quickly as possible,” he said on Wednesday.
Green pointed out that the setback for the sector comes at a time when production was trending up. Jamaica-gleaner.com quoted him as saying: “We were on a growth trajectory. In fact, our production numbers for banana and plantain have increased by 25 per cent, and importantly, our export numbers for bananas have gone up significantly.”