KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar will today, Monday, brief the media on quality reports for bananas shipped to the United Kingdom during three recent trail shipments.
He warned on Friday that the industry and the national economy would suffer if fruit quality does not improve.
Caesar said that the reports out of the United Kingdom “are definitely not of the best” and urged farmers to pay special attention to the quality of fruits harvested for export last weekend.
This country last month sent its first shipment of bananas to the United Kingdom in over eight weeks as farmers tried to improve the quality of their fruit in the face of the black sigatoka disease.
“It is one thing to place fruits into the boxes but there is the final stage where we receive the reports from the U.K. and it will be detrimental to the entire industry, it will be disadvantageous to the entire country, if the persons who are selling bananas to the U.K., who are selling bananas to WINFARM do not pay particular care and attention to the issue of quality,” Caesar said.
He said that the reports show that the main problems are mechanical damage –bruising of the fruits, etc., premature ripening during shipment, and harvesting of overage fruits.
“I would like [farmers who are harvesting fruits] to ensure that the solidarity which has been shown by the government [and other investors] that the farmers take special care in selecting the best fruits possible,” Caesar said.