Organic bananas: up, up and away
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CTA. 2000. Organic bananas: up, up and away. Spore 85. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46678
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore85.pdf
international workshop on Production and Marketing of Organic Bananas by Smallholder Farmers held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from 31 November to 3 December 1999
The cultivation of organic bananas in the Caribbean certainly has potential. The market, especially in Europe and the United States, is growing. Cultivation has proved successful in the Dominican Republic. The biggest constraints in organic cultivation are pest management, topography, poor infrastructure, high labour costs, and lack of organic material to improve soil fertility. These facts emerged from an international workshop on Production and Marketing of Organic Bananas by Smallholder Farmers held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from 31 November to 3 December 1999. The workshop, organised by CABI-Biosciences, CEDAF, INIBAP, and CTA, assessed the potential and constraints of organic banana production in the Caribbean as a feasible alternative to conventional production. The Windward Islands, in particular, offer favourable conditions for organic crops: black Sigatoka, a dreaded disease, is absent from these islands; there is a long-established 'banana culture'; and the farmers are well organised. The meeting stressed that marketing should receive more attention. Producers lack awareness of the requirements of consumers and retailers regarding flavour, shelf-life, and ripening. Information and training are much needed here. The problem of conversion to organic farming, which requires time and investment, was raised. Support for small growers during conversion would be more effective if it were linked to organic certification as well as pest free and fair trade labelling.