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A Call for Clarity on WIBDECO'S Single Port Loading Scheme

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Contact: Janelle Charles

bananasWednesday, January 16, 2002 – The Ministry of Agriculture is calling on the Windward Island Banana and Export Development Company (WIBDECO) to embark on an extensive education campaign to inform farmers on the operations of its new single port-loading scheme. WIBDECO recently introduced a single-port loading policy, moving away form a two-port loading scheme. As a result bananas will be loaded for export from the Vieux Fort Sea Port.

Dr. James Fletcher
Dr. James Fletcher, Permanent Secretary - Agriculture

“We’ve written to WIBDECO asking them to embark on a very heavy publicity campaign in English and Creole, over the next two weeks, to explain to farmers all of the issues with respect to their single port loading programme”, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr. James Fletcher revealed.

Agriculture officials are still concerned that there was insufficient discussion among stakeholders on WIBDECO’s decision to introduce a single-port loading scheme. Dr. Fletcher says while WIBDECO is a public company the governments of St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada and the banana companies are all shareholders and as such should have been involved in such a fundamental decision which could impact on the profits of members.

He explains that in response to his query, WIBDECO says for now farmers are to continue delivering their bananas to their usual reception points and the company will be responsible for transporting the fruit to the Vieux Fort port. But it is precisely because transportation of the fruit can impact dramatically on the overall quality scores of the bananas, the Permanent Secretary notes, that there should have been more consultation on the issue.

Dr. Fletcher says government is still ignorant about the details of WIBDECO’s new arrangement for loading bananas. Nor is it aware of how the new scheme will accommodate an increase in banana production, which is anticipated this year.

read a copy of the Permanent Secretary's letter to WIBDECO's Chief Executive Officer


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