Thunderstorms severely impact Banana industry Print E-mail
( 0 Votes )
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 08 September 2011 00:00

Banana trees blown down.A couple of days of thunderstorms have caused major damage to the banana industry in southern Belize.General Manager of the Banana Growers Association Sam Mathias said that the association is in the process of doing assessments of the damage which were caused to banana groves following two days of thunderstorms on Monday September 5th and 6th.

Heavy winds and rains fell a large percentage of the banana trees in the heart of the Cowpen area of the Stann Creek district where there is the highest concentration of banana plantations. Farmers in the area report that large portions of their fields were damaged as a result of the heavy winds and rain that affected the area on Monday and Tuesday. Preliminary assessments have it that anywhere between 50 and 60 percent of the banana trees were toppled over by heavy winds. The damage has caused setbacks for the industry by as much as 5 to 10 million U.S. dollars.

Farmers indicate that it will take some 9 months before the industry bounces back from this latest devastation by nature.  For the time being the Banana Growers Association is strategizing how they will finance the losses suffered as clean up and replanting of the fields are now necessary. The largest financier to the BGA is the Social Security Board to whom the BGA owes some 5 million dollars but which is being serviced with payments of some 100 thousand dollars a month. The BGA is at this point contemplating if they will approach the SSB for a bailout.

The Banana industry contributes anywhere between 40 to 45 million U.S. dollars to Belize’s economy.