BUSINESS MONDAY: Barbadians urged to eat more local bananas

ESTIMATES suggest that Barbados’ food import bill is in the vicinity of $7 million. A significant amount of that relates to the importation of food crops and vegetables.

Against this background there is a call for Barbadians to consume a lot more of the local bananas grown in the eastern parishes of the island. This call was promoted by two persons who spoke recently to Business Monday.

One who hails from an area where lots of the fruits are grown, said that while he is not opposed to imports of bananas into Barbados, something however should be done to supplement them with the locally grown fruit.

“There are people who grow a lot of bananas in this area, but that is all to it,” he declared.

“If we are serious about food security and promoting agriculture and cutting down our food import bill, there is no reason why our farmers in this area should not be given the opportunity to supply some more of those fruits,” the man reasoned, while noting that locally grown bananas are of a high quality.

Nowadays, the other person said, people have been using bananas in a wide range of recipes and just as they are experimenting with breadfruits, so is the case with bananas.

While he did not have facts and figures to support the importance of the industry to domestic growers, it was revealed that between 3 000 to 6 000 boxes are brought into Barbados weekly.

Some of them then undergo a process he called “ready ripening”, although some of the green ones are sold as well by retailers.

He believed the industry here is valued at more than $10 million and that the sandy/clay soil in those eastern parishes of St. John, St. Joseph and St. Andrew, are ideal for cultivating the fruit.

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