Banana and plantain farmers in Jamaica had a successful 2022 despite the impact of Tropical Storms Grace and Ida in 2021. The industry saw a 2.8 per cent increase in banana production and an impressive 18.7 per cent increase in plantain production, with a total of over 72,000 metric tonnes of bananas and more than 60,000 metric tonnes of plantains being produced.
General Manager of the Banana Board, Janet Conie, credited the resilience of farmers and the support provided by the Board for the industry’s success. The Board also exceeded its target of annual production, using 2015 as the base year.
“It all had to do with the resilience of the farmers, aided and supported by the Banana Board. I want to congratulate the farmers for their resilience and for their productivity, in spite of the constraints,” she said.
The industry saw the highest export of banana in recent years, with 898.21 tonnes of banana exported in 2022, representing a 9.17 per cent increase over the previous year. Mrs. Conie highlighted the need to meet the underserved markets in the Caribbean, and the Board is focused on strengthening the industry to be able to do so.
However, the Banana Board is also calling for increased support through public-private partnerships to manage the effects of climate change and protect the gains of the industry. Mrs. Conie outlined a climate change project proposal that involved using technology to mitigate drought and produce bananas by climate-smart technology, but funding is needed to implement the project.