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A Fixed Pricing Scheme for Bananas Must Be Set Up

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Contact: Janelle Charles

bananasMonday, March 04, 2002 - The Windward Islands Banana Development and Export Company (WIBDECO) has been asked to abandon the fluctuating price scheme used to determine the price per pound of fruit paid out to banana farmers and introduce instead a fixed pricing scheme. The recommendation is coming from the Minister for Agriculture Senator Calixte George and was communicated to top officials of WIBDECO and the St. Lucia Banana Company (SLBC) in a recent meeting.

Senator George says fluctuating banana prices limits the farmers’ confidence in the industry, adding that a fixed pricing plan will enable farmers to make long term production plans. He acknowledges that any agreed fixed price, while encouraging stability in the industry, must at the same time reflect market realities.

Given that banana prices are low in the winter months and high during the summer months, Senator George is recommending that WIBDECO introduces two fixed price bands to coincide with this market reality.

“I have suggested to them that they have two price bands, one in the winter which will go from about October to March and one in the summer which will go from about April to September. Obviously the summer band will be a higher band because you have a high price. But you will have a price that will be for a fairly long period of time and so the farmers will be in a better position”, the Minister explained.

“So I want to assure the farmers that the government is trying its very best in terms of trying to stabilise the price structure so that at the end of the day they will be able to plan out their business much better,” the Minister added.

Soon, officials from WIBDECO, SLBC and the Ministry of Agriculture will look at production figures with a view to determining a fixed pricing scheme for bananas.

In his recent meeting with WIBECO officials Senator George also called for better relations between the company and banana farmers suggesting a more “grower-friendly” relationship with farmers and their respective banana companies.

In terms of the relationship towards the Governments, Senator George said, WIBDECO will meet on a monthly basis with Government officials to discuss various problems that may arise over the period.


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