A banana plant infected with the black Sigatoka disease. (Internet photo)

Taiwan has pledged to help St. Vincent and the Grenadines country enhance its production of bananas.

Taiwan’s ambassador to SVG, Calvin Ho, gave the pledge during his address at the launch of the first phase of the Banana Revitalisation Programme on June 21 at the Orange Hill Laboratory.

This project will focus on control methods to improve black sigatoka management on a pilot area of 200 acres ranging from Colonarie to Orange Hill. It is anticipated that it will contribute to the reduction in the incidence of black sigatoka on bananas and plantains through public awareness and on farm technical support.

 

Ambassador Calvin Ho speaking at the event. (Photo: API)

Ho said he is cognisant of the important role that the banana industry and the agricultural industry at large play in the economy of SVG country and was happy when he learnt about the Banana Revitalization Project.

 

He added that he is also aware of the challenges in the banana sector and that Tawian will assist by sharing their experiences with the local farmers to help them overcome the difficulties that they are currently facing.

The Taiwan envoy noted that SVG and his country have collaborated on a number of projects since establishing diplomatic ties more than three decades years ago, but the Banana Revitalisation Project is the most meaningful to him because of the significance of the banana industry.

“We will work together with our colleagues from the Ministry of Agriculture and with our farmer friends; together we can do something to enhance the production of the banana.”

Permanent Secretaryin the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour, Raymond Ryan, said the launching of the Banana Revitalisation Programme through the Improvement of the Black Sigatoka Management Project will continue to augment SVG’s continuing efforts to control the Black Sigatoka Disease and will find mechanisms to reduce cost to farmers and improve the quality and quantity of food produced.

Farmers at the launch of the project. (Photo: API)

He said this holistic approach considers the main factor affecting the management of the disease and will seek to improve them.

Ryan pointed out that a number of activities are included in the first phase of the project namely soil sampling, global positioning system, mapping of farms, farmer training in disease identification and management, provision of equipment and provision of fungicide to control the disease.

“The Ministry continues to strive for the improvement of the livelihood of all farmers throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines and it is envisaged that this project will make a significant impact on the control of the Black Sigatoka.”

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour, Saboto Caesar, expressed gratitude to the Government and people of Taiwan for the excellent work that they have done in agriculture in SVG over the years.

Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar speaks at the event. (Photo: API)

He said the project came after a period of consultation with Taiwan and they noted that they wanted to put the control of the Black Sigatoka at the fore.

“I want to thank the farmers for not giving up and for being a part of that cadre of persons who are supportive of the enterprise. It is not easy to grapple with Black Sigatoka, it is not easy to grapple with the vagaries of climate change especially if you are farming in areas where you do not have the irrigation support.”

The agriculture minister encouraged the banana farmers to look at the future of agriculture in SVG from the lens of a diversified production platform.

“I wish that in our analysis of where we are and where we want to go for us to appreciate that we are not looking at a single crop anymore, the days when we were relying on one crop, those days must be considered as long gone.”

Caesar urged the farmers to consider the issue of food security and to practice and promote a more climate resilient type of agriculture, especially during the hurricane season.

Approximately EC$1.3 million will be invested in the first phase of the Banana Revitalisation Programme through the Improvement of the Black Sigatoka Management Project over four years.

The Project is being carried out by the Government of SVG in collaboration with the Government of Taiwan.

6 replies on “SVG’s Taiwan-funded Banana Revitalisation Project launched”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    From a global perspective, bananas are the cheapest fruit in the world to produce, buy, ship, and buy.

    Our main problem is not the many diseases that bananas can carry. It is that we could never grow the quantity and quality of produce at low enough prices to be competitive on world markets without high levels of subsidies and/or tariff protections, two features that would never again be provided to the industry.

    We made lots of money off bananas. But now banana dead. Let’s move on to other crops.

  2. Ben which other crop is a good substitute? I can assure you whare suggestions you make will suffer the same fate as banana.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      We should know by now, in our long history, that focussing on a single crop, with the exception of sugar cane which did well during the days of chattel slavery between 1764 and 1820 but then began a slow and painful death which was consumated — mortal man vs. the angel of death — by a quick abortion in 1955, that depending on a single crop is a fool’s errand in SVG.

      We must be swift and aggressive in hitting markets with organically-grown speciality crops produced by farmers’ cooperatives, assisted by the government in marketing their products which should include fresh, canned, and bottled food.

      Correctly choosing which crops to choose would make me a rich man but, alas, this is above my ability in predicting thr future.

  3. Why doesn’t Taiwan help SVG develop the fishing industry? The Taiwanese are very good at that. SVG could then move closer toward producing sufficient food to feed for the country. That is a good step toward ending hunger and poverty.

  4. Ben whether organic market or not any other substitute will face the same challenge. People are not willing to pay a premium for organic foods. Problems and symptoms are not the same. I really do not see the alternative to bananas. It’s easier said than done.

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