Prospere responds amid claims the SLP killed bananas


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Agriculture Minister Alfred Prospere explained that Saint Lucia had diverted shipments of bananas to Trinidad and Tobago after trade with the United Kingdom was suspended.

Prospere recently announced the suspension of trade in the UK, citing significant economic viability concerns.

However, on Monday he told reporters on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting that he feared what was circulating was that the Saint Lucia Labor Party (SLP) and he, as minister, had killed bananas.

“But they never said the important part of my statement, which was that as soon as that decision was made, the same amount of bananas were diverted to Trinidad and Tobago,” Prospere noted.

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According to the minister, the suspension of trade in the UK has not had a negative impact on local farmers.

“We are still exporting those 1,000 boxes to Trinidad,” Prospere observed.

And he revealed that the NFTO was working with a supplier in Trinidad and Tobago to ship an additional 3,000 boxes of bananas from Saint Lucia to the twin island republic.

Nevertheless, Prospere explained that Saint Lucia does not yet have these bananas.

“What I mean is that we are not in a situation where the thousands of boxes that were going to the UK are stopped because our farmers are in a position where their fruit is hanging. Their fruits are still harvested and they are exported,” he told reporters.

“So I want to make it clear to the public that the situation that existed where we had to suspend exports to the UK, these fruits are now being exported to Trinidad and Tobago,” the minister said.

He also revealed that he spoke with a buyer from St. Thomas interested in bananas and plantains, avocados, citrus fruits and other crops.

“We’ve been doing well so far,” Prospere told reporters.

But he said he was not too happy with the suspension of trade in the UK as farmers were getting more for their fruit in the UK compared to the region.

At the same time, Prospere claimed that the region has enormous potential.

In this regard, the Minister of Agriculture believes that farmers in Saint Lucia will continue to earn money once they can export their bananas to the region.

Main photo: Alfred Prospere (archive image)

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