In Guadeloupe, going green means going bananas

  • Wednesday 16, May 2018 in 11:08 AM
Sharjah 24 – AFP: Yellow is the new green in the French Caribbean archipelago of Guadeloupe.
Bananas are the island group's top agricultural export, and there is growing awareness that farming practices need to change as yields drop and damage from pesticide use rises.
 
Mindful of the biodiversity in his banana grove at Capesterre-Belle-Eau on the island of Basse-Terre, farmer Jean-Louis Butel follows the French government's recommendations on sustainable agriculture.
 
"Environmental activists had us visit banana groves at night. We saw bats, and 300 or 400 other species living in the grove," Butel says.
 
In recent years, yields in areas where bananas are grown exclusively have been on the decline.
 
On the positive side, attitudes are finally changing over the use of the pesticide chlordecone, which continues to pollute the soil despite being banned since 1990.
 
Those factors combined have encouraged Butel to switch to more sustainable methods.
 
Since 2007 "we haven't used any pesticides, or nematicide (against roundworm parasites) and in 2014 we stopped using herbicides," he says.