CASTRIES, St. Lucia – The St. Lucia government says it is encouraged by the talks held with an established buyer on the possibility of using Antigua as a distribution hub for the sale of bananas to surrounding countries in the region.
“Currently, we are moving between 2000 and 2500 (boxes) per week. But we have asked for the possibility of increasing it to 8000 because we believe the opportunity exists for additional distribution to Antigua, St Kitts, St Thomas and St Maarten,” Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development Minister, Alfred Prospere.
Prospere had last year said led a delegation on a in a bid to secure new and existing banana markets and following the most recent research efforts by Export St. Lucia and the National Fair Trade Organization (NFTO) it landed a new market in Antigua with the first shipment of 460 boxes arrived in that Caribbean island at the end of last month.
“I applaud St. Lucia’s farmers because the quality of the fruit exported was encouraging. Antigua has expressed interest in importing high quality bananas, as we have been doing for export to the United Kingdom.
“We need now to ensure that we work toward maintaining and improving that quality so that bananas can continue to be exported to the UK and other countries in the region,” Prospere said.
.He said he is encouraged by the feedback with the “established buyer” in Antigua due to the high level of interest shown.
The Ministry of Agriculture said its focus remains on securing existing banana markets and expanding into new regional and international markets and that farmers are encouraged to ensure that the quality of the bananas produced remains among their highest priorities.