The Ministry of Agriculture hopes to increase the number of farmers participating in the Banana Improvement Productivity Project.
The project currently has between 300 to 400 participating farmers with a goal to increase that number to 1200. For this reason, Project Manager Kerde Severin said facilitators are working to acquire additional lands that are suitable for banana production.
“When the project started, there were about 300 to 400 active banana farmers. We are hoping that by the end of the project, by year four, we would have increased that by another 1200,” he said. “We have made some progress in this regard, last month we settled four young entrepreneurs in the Mabouya Valley, allocating five acres to each of them. They have started working on land preparation, preparing the fields for planting, and in Marquis, we have targeted 50 acres and we’re hoping that 10 young persons can be settled on those lands.”
Officers are also considering renting private lands in Roseau and Forestierre. Alluvial plains are particularly desirable.
“There are vacant lands in Roseau, Mr. Severin said, “so we plan to bring all the owners of those lands together and dialogue with them because there are persons who are interested in renting those lands, a we are targeting all those alluvial plains which are ideal for banana production.”
By the end of the project, Mr. Severin said the banana industry should provide gainful employment for up to 1600 farmers.