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European Banana Market: Afruibana Look to the Future

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At a webinar with African and European decision-makers, Afruibana, the association of African banana producers, presented the African Banana White Paper entitled: "Bananas at the heart of African rural development a common challenge for Africa and Europe".

The launch is supported by MEP Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Vice-Chair of the Committee on International Trade, MEP Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Development, and by Carlos Zorrinho, Co-Chair of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Make the African banana more competitive and sustainable

The White Paper charts five fields of investment as priorities: human capital and territorial development, R&D and modernisation of cultivation practices, change of agricultural model for better productivity, ecological and energy transition, local processing and development of regional markets.

All these solutions aim at improving the sector's carbon footprint and are part of the "farm to fork" approach to sustainable food production, where the use of synthetic products is systematically limited as much as possible.

A depressed European banana market

While in 2013 Dollar bananas already accounted for 69.1% of the European market, the sharp build up in their production capacities, combined with deregulation and an increase of supermarkets bargaining power have jointly led to a massive growth in their relative market shares, now standing at 75.5%. Over the same period (2013-2020), despite considerable efforts to improve competitiveness, African producers saw their market share fall from 10.1% to 8.9%, that of Caribbean producers in the ACP area from 9.5% to 6.8% while that of European producers slid from 11.3% to 8.9%.

While exported volumes of bananas to the European Union increased, this glut has led to a significant drop in price. Whereas, in 2015, the average import price was 14.3 euros/carton of bananas, in 2020, it dropped to 11.7 euros, thereby seriously jeopardising all origins, even Latin Americans.

Post-Cotonou, an opportunity for a new start between Africa and Europe

“The integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the post-Cotonou agreement is a good thing, but it must be accompanied by some political coherence on the European side” explains Joseph Owona Kono, president of Afruibana. “Between the stated objectives of the EU's development policy and the practices of its trade policy, there must be consistency and harmonisation, in order to preserve the sectors that create wealth and jobs on the African continent”.

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Léonard Lifar
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