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WIBDECO Improving Efficiency across the Board

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - The Windward Islands Banana Development and Exporting Company Limited (WIBDECO), is presently engaged in implementing various adjustments, towards improving its own efficiency regionally and in the United Kingdom.

According to Agriculture Minister, Honourable Ignatius Jean, recent reports reaching his Ministry indicate that WIBDECO had acquired some 26 “Refer Containers.” The containers are expected to significantly assist the efforts of banana farmers in getting better harvesting days for their bananas, thereby reducing to a great extent, the time it takes for Windward Islands bananas to get to the UK.

Mr. Jean, who spoke at Tuesday’s August 10, 2004, House of Assembly session, stated that the introduction of the IRDC’S has also facilitated considerably, the transition from what obtained previously during banana harvesting days. The Agriculture Minister added that the introduction of the additional refrigerated containers would make it possible for fruits to arrive in the UK on a Monday instead of the usual Sunday, thereby reducing extensively, the cost usually incurred for the Sunday operations.

Currently, the vessel arrives at the UK port on a Sunday, thereby increasing the costs to WIBDE, because works have to be paid double time and triple time. However, when the Vessel will arrive on a Monday, it will help to reduce some of that (Sunday) cost, and those savings will translate to improving WIBDECO’s own efficiency. In addition, the fruit from the boats will then be able to be delivered directly to the ripening room on a Monday. Also, within the same week, most of the Supermarkets will be able to receive fresh fruits out of the Windward Islands, Minister Jean informed.

“As a result, the transition for the new harvesting days will take effect in the coming three weeks, which will be on Mondays and Tuesdays, using those refrigerated containers”, he said, adding, “Under control temperature, it may well be possible now to harvest on a Sunday, and as soon as the vessel gets in on the Tuesday or the Monday, you can begin the loading. That will reduce the time that the fruit spends out of the control temperature so that we should be able to bring in much better quality fruit and to be able to secure better prices.”

During Tuesday’s House of Assembly session, the House authorised the Minister of Finance to guarantee a loan of US$10 million from the Citibank of Trinidad and Tobago Limited by WIBDECO for the purpose of refinancing existing debts.

WIBDECO has been on the move, educating farmers in the region through a live radio and TV programme from the studios of the Government Information Service (GIS).



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