ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Fresh produce vendors are hoping that import restrictions on certain fruits imposed by the Plant Protection Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture will not sting their profits.
On Wednesday, the unit headed by Plant Protection Officer Dr Janil Gore-Francis, announced a decision by government to place restrictions on the importation of a number of fruits from Dominica.
They also notified the public that imports in defiance of the measures will be confiscated and destroyed.
On the blacklist are mangoes, guavas, bananas, plantain, cut flowers and dried coconuts.
The measure, according to the plant protection officer, was put in place due to “a number of phytosanitary (plant health) issues that have developed in recent times.”
One local distributor, Clint Rolle, said he does not oppose the measures being implemented, but he has serious qualms on the implications they may have on imports from the nature island.
“I foresee that they are going to say, put a lesser quantity of bananas or plantains per box. What that does is going to infringe on whatever profits we might make,” Rolle explained.
Rolle said because customs duties are extremely high, importers pack excess per box to ensure that they are making a profit.
Rolle also contends that once importers comply with the rules the process should run smoothly.
Other importers, who spoke to OBSERVER Media, said they were waiting to see what unfolds.
Another who also spoke on condition anonymity said he hoped the Plant Protection Unit would get the situation under control.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)