Jamaica grateful for EU banana support

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

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DEPUTY Governor General Steadman Fuller has lauded the support, which the European Union (EU) has been providing for the banana industry, describing it as an important catalyst for continued economic activity in the sector.
"The European Union funded Banana Support sProgramme is an indication of resilience and commitment to an industry that has demonstrated its ability to survive major changes and overcome even some of the most significant challenges," he said, at the launch of another segment of the Banana Board/European Union Banana Support Programme Sunday at the Denbigh Show Ground in Clarendon.
In this segment, the EU will provide support for extension services, the establishment of nurseries in selected areas of the island and promote other agricultural crops in areas that have seen a decline in the production of bananas.
The EU has been assisting the banana sector since 1999 with the allocation of $5 billion through the Banana Support Programme which will end in 2013.
"The banana trade became the most important economic activity in the post-–Emancipation era and would later develop even further. Many industries have been spawned as a result of the banana trade. These include tourism and food processing. Such is the versatility of the plant that hardly anything goes to waste in the banana industry. By-products, such as leaves are used in the making of dokunu, a local delicacy, and farmers oftentimes feed the balk to their pigs," Fuller added.
For his part, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Robert Montague encouraged players in the banana industry to put more effort in developing and marketing by-products, noting that the industry provides reliable cash flows. He also welcomed the EU's support as a timely investment for further development of the sector.
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