European Union headquarters in Barbados has hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to banana growers
Freeport News Reporter
Following on from Grand Bahama Minister Dr. Michael Darville's encouragement for people to get into farming, the European Union has set up headquarters in Barbados with hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to banana growers.
News from the Caribbean, however, said that the European Union's recent grant of $20.7m will go towards revitalizing the All-Island Banana Growers' Association (AIBGA) which is the sole banana growers' association, but which in recent years has been inactive.
The report said the capital injection will reposition the association to, among other things, develop a structured marketing system to allow it to compete in promoting a range of value added products. The project is also said to be a precursor to the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) which is slated to get underway in 2013.
Grethel Sessing, president of the AIBGA, was said to have explained that this intervention will result in improved support services to farmers that will redound to the benefit of their families and communities.
She was quoted saying: "We expect that within the next two to three years, the AIBGA should see stronger and more coherent district branches, area councils and vibrant growers' organisation better able to respond to their needs and improved material supply outlets."
While the one-year project will be implemented by the AIBGA, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and European Union Banana Support Programme, with the Banana Board and other stakeholders, will provide support.
Sessing used the occasion to challenge Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke to use his office to lobby for a market for agricultural produce, in much the same way as the island's tourism product is marketed internationally.
© 2012 The Freeport News