Banana producers from Europe (APEB), Colombia (AUGURA and ASBAMA), Ecuador (AEBE and ACORBANEC) and Guatemala (APIB), gathered at the Brussels Europe Press Club, have highlighted the consequences that the EU’s Farm-to-Fork strategy has on farmers. The European Green Deal has led to a change in the agricultural system, creating higher production costs. The banana producers supplying European banana consumption have much in common, but the geographical, economic, social, legal, and political distinctions between them have led them to make different proposals for dealing with the “Farm to Fork” strategy. Their proposals can be divided into three pillars:
- Promotion, under the concept of Shared Responsibility, of a living price for bananas, taking into account parameters and methodology that recognise exogenous impacts and sustainability efforts in the supply chain. In this sense, banana farmers demand that the trend of low prices be reversed with the justification of offering the cheapest fruit in the world, which is not consistent with the policies of sustainability and living wage.
- European international organisations are urged, and banana producers are committed to form an alliance for the management of international resources to combat FOC R4T and Black Sigatoka. It is necessary to come to an understanding of the social, environmental, and economic impact that banana growing countries will suffer if they are not protected from this threat.
- Promotion and endorsement of a security agenda against narcotic contamination of containers, as well as the control of drug trafficking in consumer countries.
“We must reverse the price trend […] that has been maintained by the European distribution system and that is not consistent with the policies of demands that allow us to continue paying a living wage, nor maintain the green policy, nor the farm-to-table strategy,” said Juan José Pons, Coordinator of the Banana Cluster of Ecuador in his reading of the declaration.
“This is a call we make from the banana industry to the community in general, it is a call from our labour, social, and environmental sustainability, in order to continue protecting each of the economies, regions, where each of the workers is doing their best to provide the best product that we bring to the European Union, the banana. This is truly a call for recognition of the decent price that is necessary for our product,” said Emerson Aguirre of the Association of Colombian Banana Growers (AUGURA).
“We want […] to urge the entire banana value chain, all the way to the consumer, to become aware of how senseless it is that, to date, bananas that have to travel thousands of kilometers to reach their supermarkets, and eventually their tables, are paid at a lower cost, at a lower price, than fruits that are sometimes produced in the same localities”, says Julio Mérida from the Association of Independent Banana Producers of Guatemala (APIB).
“The production costs we have and the conditions under which we have to produce, which adhere strictly to European regulations, mean that we produce the most expensive bananas in the world. So we are all constantly concerned about getting more value from our production,” adds Eric de Lucy, President of UGPBAN and representative of the Association of European Banana Producers (APEB).