Geest name will eventually disappear as a brand Windward Isles banana growers will be selling their own fruit through a new directly controlled sales office from January 1, as part of sweeping changes announced this week. The office will trade as Windward Bananas and the Geest name will eventually disappear as a brand from the 180,000 ­ 200,000 tonnes sold annually. The decision was taken against a background of increased competition which has led to a spate of low prices throughout the summer. Geest Bananas, the joint 50-50 company set up by Fyffes and Wibdeco, the islands growers' organisation will continue. But it will be a service company retaining responsibility for port operations, distribution and ripening. As part of the rationalisation, the Geest and Fyffes banana ripening operation will become a unified network. But three centres will close. Those affected are at Chippenham and the Clyde Valley belonging to Geest, while Fyffes will shut the Blaby depot. - The latest round of discussions about the banana import regime which will once again bring the EU up against US interests is scheduled for December 18. MEPs and the Council of Ministers are examining new proposals for an import regime based on a first come first served basis. The concept has already raised the fears of the Caribbean Banana Exporters Association. It claims the adoption of such a concept would bring ruin to the islands. The association also oppose the alternative proposal of a tariff only. Gordon Myers, European representative of the CBEA, said that the answer would be a quota system based on past trade. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}