Saint Lucia’s export crisis deepens as Tropical Storm “Bret” destroys major crops

Saint Lucia's export crisis deepens as Tropical Storm Bret destroys major crops

Tropical Storm “Bret” decimated the majority of banana and plantain crops in Saint Lucia on June 22, leaving local farmers and the export industry in crisis.

Bret hit the island on June 22, destroying over 75% of banana and plantain crops, equivalent to over 6 070 ha (15 000 acres). Despite being heavy with fruit and having shallow roots, these crops couldn’t stand against the high winds.

Alfred Prospere, the Minister for Agriculture, expressed his concerns in a pre-Cabinet briefing on Monday, June 26, about the effect of the storm on the island’s ability to export these crops. In recent months, Saint Lucia has struggled to produce enough bananas to satisfy international demand.

“This has dealt us a serious blow,” Prospere said.

As per the minister, Saint Lucia has only managed to supply around half of the 15 000 boxes of bananas per week required for regional export. The storm also affected other fruits and vegetables, including avocados, mangoes, guavas, and plums. Every year, the island’s agricultural sector, and thereby the food supply, is threatened during the hurricane season.

Early reports indicate that the weather system damaged over 16 ha (40 acres) of vegetables and destroyed at least 18 greenhouses. Over a hundred farmers have lost their means of subsistence.

The minister stated, “This is to be expected at this time of year,” while promising that the government would do all it could to assist farmers. However, he warned that farmers should remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to protect their families and property.


1 Tropical Storm Bret destroys more than 75% of bananas in Saint Lucia – St. Lucia LoopNews – June 27, 2023

Featured image credit: St. Lucia LoopNews (stillshot)


Commenting rules and guidelines

We value the thoughts and opinions of our readers and welcome healthy discussions on our website. In order to maintain a respectful and positive community, we ask that all commenters follow these rules.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *