On 17 August, it will have been one year since Hurricane Dean bore down on the islands of the French West Indies, destroying the entire banana crop in Martinique and half of Guadeloupe’s plantations. Three weeks later, shipments had fallen to just 20,000 boxes per week.
One year on, thanks to the hard work of the planters and their teams, production is back to normal, according to the union of banana grower associations of Martinique and Guadeloupe (UGPBAN).
Between 14 April and 15 June, more than 300,000 boxes were shipped per week, including the highest weekly total in the group’s history, of 389,000 boxes.
According to UGPBAN, weekly volumes will decrease gradually before reaching a low of around 100,000 boxes a week in mid-September. However, towards the end of the year and during the beginning of 2009, volumes will rise to approximately 250,000 boxes per week.
Perhaps even more importantly, according to the group, UGPBAN has succeeded in winning back the French market share that it relinquished in the aftermath of Hurricane Dean. Prior to the hurricane, UGPBAN’s market share in France was approximately 36 per cent; now, according to the group, thanks in part to a huge publicity campaign, it has risen to an average of 38 per cent.