UGPBAN, the union of banana grower associations of Martinique and Guadeloupe, has revealed that it anticipates a loss of approximately 20,000 tonnes of bananas in Guadeloupe as a result of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat in the British West Indies.
The volcano erupted on 11 February, causing over 500kg of ash to fall on the banana plantations of Guadeloupe.
Significant blemishes on almost all the fruit have reportedly left it unmarketable.
A study will be conducted by French research centre the CIRAD and the INRA to assess the impact of the ash on plant development, according to UGPBAN.
The study, due to begin next week, will allow the group to estimate the time for the resumption of production.
According to managing director Philippe Ruelle, the first consignments could start slowly in week 20/21, but the group will wait for the results of the study by CIRAD and the INRA before finalising any plans.