Taiwan supports redevelopment of banana industry

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CASTRIES, St Lucia Jul. 27, CMC – The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is throwing its support behind the redevelopment and resuscitation of the St.Lucia Banana industry.
On Friday, Taiwan   announced the recent assigning of  Taiwan Banana expert  Tsung-Hsien Wu, Specialist of Taiwan Banana Research Institute  (TBRI), to assist in the implementation of the Banana Productivity Improvement Project here.
According to the announcement Wu has ample expertise in banana production, pest control, climate adaptation and post-harvest technology.
He will collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture, the stakeholders of the banana industry and local farmers to monitor and control major pest and diseases, with an aim to increase banana field productivity levels from a low of 5-8 tons to 10-15 tons per acre.
The Banana Productivity Improvement Project will be implemented over a four-year period, the statement noted.
During the first year, major focus will be put on restoring the industry to pre-Hurricane Matthew condition and increasing productivity on existing acreages.
Thereafter attention will be placed on expanding current acreages, enhancing resilience to climate change, establishing sustainable financing mechanism, and building capacity and strength in disease control measures.
The two year old United Workers Party government has been seeking to revive the once buoyant banana industry, with an agreement already in place to begin exporting to the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and increase exports to the United Kingdom.
Production to the UK had declined from the 1990 high of over 133,777 tonnes weekly valued at EC$186.9 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) to as little as 3,000 tonnes weekly in 2015. However in 2016 production had risen to 14,629 weekly, with just over 20,000 tonnes weekly exported in 2017.

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