HC Deb 23 July 1975 vol 896 c259W
Mr. Rose

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what steps he is taking to aid the increase of the margin of profitability of banana production in Commonwealth Caribbean States.

Mr. Prentice

I have recently approved a five-year programme of assistance designed to help maintain and improve the efficiency of the banana industry in the Windward Islands. It will be operated by the Windward Islands Banana Growers Association in consultation with our development division in the Caribbean. We are providing a small team of consultants to advise on a development plan for the industry, providing technical assistance to the growers continuing the already existing fertiliser subsidy and financing some minor capital works.

Special attention will be given to raising the quality of the bananas by promoting better methods of cultivation and by improving transport and marketing techniques. The hope is that by improving efficiency in this way the margin of return to the grower will be increased.

In Belize British consultants have been advising on the planning strategy for development of the industry, taking profitability into account. The Belize Government are now considering the next steps.

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