St. Lucia’s government injects $3 million …a relief to farmers affected by Hurricane Dean

CASTRIES, St. Lucia – The passage of Hurricane Dean on Friday August 17th, 2007 dealt a heavy blow to the banana industry and claimed one life from among the farming membership of the Saint Lucia Banana Corporation SLBC.

Immediately following the hurricane an assessment team visited affected areas island wide and recorded damages at 80 per cent to banana fields supplying fruit to the Odsan IRDC; 60 percent to banana fields supplying fruit to the La Caye IRDC in Dennery; and 30 percent to banana fields supplying fruit to the Vieux Fort Reception Depot. Overall island-wide damage is estimated at 65 percent.

The Board of Directors of the SLBC met and considered a Post Hurricane Dean Report and agreed as follows.

– SLBC will make a monetary contribution to the funeral expenses of its decreased member;

– SLBC will represent its affected farmers in securing moratorium on their loan repayments with credit institutions for the period of their loss of income

– SLBC will seek a temporary suspension of Leaf spot deductions from farmers’ reduced earnings;

– SLBC will dedicate five of its front line technical officers to the recovery effort aimed at restoring effort aimed at restoring the island to full production within the shortest possible time, at a cost of well over $125,000.00

The Board has noted a recovery cost of well over $10million and wish to put on record its gratitude to the Government of Saint Lucia through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for an immediate cash injection of $3.0 million towards the recovery effort.

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