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Old 08-18-2007, 03:19 PM   #1
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Default Very poor news from Martinique

Hurricane Dean, the first hurricane of the Atlantic season grew into a Category 3 storm after crossing into the warm waters of the Caribbean on Friday, August 17.

Apparently, Martinique and Guadeloupe suffered extensive damage.

Hurricane Dean has destroyed all of Martinique's banana crop and 80 percent of the plantations in the nearby Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, the head of the banana producers union said on Saturday.

Eric de Lucy, president of the banana producers union for the two French islands, estimated the cost of the damage to be between 100 and 120 million euros ($134.5 to $161.4 million) and said he would be asking the French government for help.

"There are considerable economic consequences for this sector because there is not a single banana plant left standing in Martinique and more than 80 percent of the banana plantations in Guadeloupe are affected," he told France Info radio.

De Lucy said it would take about seven months to start production again and even then it would not be back to normal.

"In seven months we won't have the potential of 300,000 tonnes of production from Martinique of Guadeloupe. We will only have about half of that potential," he said.

"Clients in France are very attached to bananas from Guadeloupe and Martinique and during that time we won't be able to provide them."

Christian Estrosi, France's secretary of state for overseas territories, is due to arrive in Martinique on Saturday to assess the damage from the hurricane to Martinique.

Dean trampled Martinique, and other Caribbean islands on Friday as a Category 2 storm, pounding the islands with 100 mph (160 kph) winds and torrential rains that triggered landslides, lifted roofs of houses and knocked out the power.

French television showed acres of flattened banana plants.

De Lucy said there was a risk that some plantation owners would be disheartened and would not want to replant their crops. Around 10,000 people are employed in the banana plantations in Martinique.

He said he would ask the government on Monday for help to get the plantations back to normal.

Estrosi said on Friday that 70 percent of sugar cane plantations in Martinique had also been destroyed in the storm.
This is sure to affect our beloved Rhum Agricole, in terms of production of new bottlings and pricing of current releases

Sad news indeed, gents
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