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Last Updated:[24-11-2010 00:20:19 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Antigua & Barbuda Diversified Return to Agri-business a Success

tradenews The Antigua Black Pineapple export project, which began in November 2008 with joint backing from the Antigua & Barbuda Development Bank (ABDB) and Norway, has been termed as a success by the bank officials.According to Caribarena, so far, around 50,000 pineapples have been planted, on average 10,000 suckers planted each month. The pineapples will be vacuum packaged to extend their shelf life, and fill any shortfall in the weekly fresh whole pineapple requirements.

Julia Wallace of ABDB told senior officers from the Royal Norwegian Society for Development (NORGESVEL), as well as BAMA, the import trading company in Norway, the contract buyer of the pineapples, came to assess the first 10 months of commercial production.

The ABDB and Norgesvel since the inception of the program have been working together on the first phase development of 25 acres of land for the commercial production of the Antigua Black Pineapple for export. The pineapples will be exported to Norway through Bama Gruppen AS, the wholesale affiliate division of Norges Gruppen (the largest supermarket chain in Norway).Bama, based in Norway is the worlds second largest wholesaler of fruit, vegetables, potatoes and berries.

The project was initiated by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda two years ago with an objective of diversifying the economy, until now solely focussed on tourism. The people of Antigua & Barbuda are understood to have welcomed the project as they always regarded agriculture, which was formerly the backbone of the economy, as an important feeding source along with tourism.

The export project of the famous sweetest pineapple in the world is also expected to attract tourists from Norway, and eventually from the whole of Europe to taste the land where these pineapples are produced. Besides, the pineapple exports success to Norway will likely push its produce to the nearby lucrative market of North America, where the major chunk of tourists visit Antigua & Barbuda to bask under the Caribbean sun and savour the sweetest succulent pineapples.The ABDB, having funded the total development of the project and sourced the technical advice and a market for the produce, anticipates that within the next five years the farming Co-operative would be self-sufficient in its operations.

By Jose Roy

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