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Feb 22, 2005

E.U. promotes efficiency in banana belt

Belize’s banana growers may face the prospect of lower prices from the European Union but the E.U. is trying to make up for that cut in subsidies by offering technical assistance. Yesterday in Belmopan Prime Minister Said Musa and the European Commission’s Gerd Jarchow signed an agreement that will make available seven point five million Belize dollars to raise efficiency and productivity in the banana industry. The money will go towards disease management, rehabilitation of older and diseased plantations and the promotion of socio-economic development in the banana belt. As subsidies are lowered Belize and other Caribbean producers will have to compete head to head with the huge factory style farms of low cost Latin American producers. While most of the small growers of the Caribbean islands are expected to eventually go out of business, there is some hope that with expanded production, better shipping and increased efficiency, Belizean bananas may yet retain some shelf space in European markets.


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