Renwick Rose, former coordinator of WINFA (the Association of Caribbean Farmers) describes the struggle facing Windward Island banana farmers, which he fears may be their last.....
In close to six decades of its existence, the banana industry in the Windward Islands has endured and literally weathered all kinds of challenges, rising time after time out of adversity to clear many different hurdles. As 2012 draws to an end however, it may be facing its gravest ever threat, one which if not tackled with tact and determination, could sound the death knell for the industry and those farming families still dependent on the crop for a livelihood.
Already the negative effects of the ‘banana wars’ of the past two decades and the resultant internecine ‘race to the bottom’, have severely damaged the industry and undermined the ability and will of the various stakeholders, small-farming families in particular, to resist and preserve their main source of income. In recent years this difficult situation has been compounded by a combination of diseases and pests which have ravaged banana fields, (and livelihoods with it), as well as natural (hurricanes, storms, floods, landslides) and man-made disasters.
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