Hurricane Tomas Hits Fairtrade Producers
From 30 to 31 October, Hurricane Tomas struck a number of Caribbean islands causing major damage to homes and physical infrastructure in Barbados, Santa Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Martinique.
Fairtrade producers were badly affected by this hurricane. Banana farmers on St Lucia have lost up to 95-100% of their crop. The year has been plagued with problems for the islands: a fungus disease of banana plants at the beginning of the year, followed by the worst drought in living memory, and now a devastating storm.
“The entire banana industry is destroyed and would require at least six months to begin to return to normalcy….our farmers have lost everything and we would need all the assistance available as we work toward recovery, “ said Cornelius Lynch, Fairtrade banana farmer on the Windward Islands.
One week after the storm, life is gradually returning to normal as electricity has returned and some major roads have been cleared. However, access to water remains a major problem, not to mention the heavy losses to crops.
Banana producers in the Dominican Republic were also affected by the storm. Early reports from Fairtrade producers there indicate damage of up to 50 percent of this year’s crop.
Our sympathy goes out to all people who have been affected by this natural disaster. FLO will continue to be in touch with our contacts on the ground to monitor the situation carefully and we are also looking into ways to support producers affected by the damage. We will provide more information as soon as possible.