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Renewed Commitment to the Survival and Prosperity of the Banana Industry

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Contact: Virnet St. Omer-Fontenelle

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - A technical group has been appointed to review the recommendations coming out of a strategic review of the St. Lucia Banana Industry held at the National Insurance Corporation NIC — Conference Centre (Saint Lucia) on the 8th and 9th June 2005.

The review was held under the theme “Repositioning the Banana Industry to Meet the Global Challenges”. The recommendations were set against consensus on the fundamental importance of the Banana Industry to national development. As such the recommendations of the conference have committed the stakeholders to ensure the survival and prosperity of the industry for the medium to long term through the implementation of a number of measures.

The first of these measures will be to renew support and endorsement of the efforts of negotiations in Brussels, continue production of bananas, the supply of consistent quality fruit to the markets as an objective to increase competitiveness, foster collaboration among stakeholders in the industry; continue to examine ways to reduce production costs, focus on production planning and production management and continuing lobby efforts to protect present banana regime arrangements.

The recommendations came from the five (5) working groups, which discussed various aspects of the industry during the two day strategic review. The technical group comprises representatives of the three (3) Banana Companies, an independent farmer, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Banana Emergency Recovery Unit BERU , Windward Island Banana Development and Exporting Company Ltd WIBDECO and the Banana Industry Trust BIT.

As its first task the technical group will recommend feasible mechanisms for collaboration among the main industry stakeholders. The Banana Industry Trust will coordinate the workings of the group and will co-opt other expertise as necessary. The group will report to the main body of stakeholders in one (1) month.

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