On Tuesday 17th January, 2017 the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry, and Fisheries visited the Palletization Centre in Langley Park, Georgetown. This centre is presently under reconstruction as part of the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) project for the revitalization of the Agricultural sector. Other centers in LaCroix in Marriaqua and Belmont on the Leeward side have been air marked for similar uses.
The objectives of this project are:
* To provide a collection depot for bananas and other commodities.
* To cost reduction in loading of the same commodities.
* To provide an adequate facility for the improvement in packaging process.
The Honourable Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry, and Fisheries stated in his address that this effort is to establish a diversified agricultural platform of which bananas will continue to play a role. He also noted that there are many other commodities which are going to be a very important and critical part of the National Agriculture Production platform.
Mr. Ricardo Frederick, BAM coordinator, said that the centre is one of project funded by the European Union (EU) grant fund of EC$30 million dollars, to promote the production and productivity within the agricultural sector. He also outlined a number of other projects that is ongoing and BAM’s hope to impact the agricultural sector and the production yields and export of agricultural commodities.
The entire process requires inter-ministerial input. Therefore the Ministry of Economic Planning is playing a vital role in executing the project. Ms. Csekai Bowman, Procurement Officer, from the Economic Monitoring Unit, highlighted the Ministry’s responsibility in the process and gave an update on the work done so far.
The project will be completed in June of this year. These efforts will enhance the current five prong programme by the Organization for the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat for the advancement of intra-regional and extra-regional trade in agricultural commodities, both bananas and non-bananas.