ASPROCAN requests that 100% of the cost of transporting Canary Island bananas be covered


Last year, banana production had an economic impact of more than 500 million euros on the Islands, which would be hindered without the agreed economic compensation. The Association of Canary Island Banana Producer Organizations (ASPROCAN) stated in a press release that an excellent opportunity is being missed by not accessing economic compensations for the export transportation costs of Canary Island bananas to mainland Spain.

According to the statement, in January, an agreement was established between the central Spanish Government, the Canary Government, and the sector to update the coverage of the aid to comply with the Economic and Fiscal Regime of the Canary Islands. This would imply an expansion of the aid line, going from the 20 million euros budgeted for 2022 expenses to 30 million in 2023.

This aligned with what was established in Article 7 of the Law regulating the Economic and Fiscal Regime of the Canary Islands regarding "financing a system of compensations that allows covering 100% of the effective cost of transporting goods between the Islands and the Peninsula". However, according to what was published last Friday in the Official State Gazette (B.O.E.), this renewed call does not include these expenses, which would be "a decision that seriously harms the sector given the increases in transportation costs along with the sharp reduction in income from last year", as read in the notice published by ASPROCAN.

However, the association believes that if there is a will, there are still technical and legal ways to avoid this misunderstanding by the authorities. Therefore, it urges the central and Canary administrations to find a solution to the current scenario and to seek alternative measures. According to Domingo Martín Ortega, president of ASPROCAN, "the publication of the call without considering the update of the aid conditions warns us of an intention contrary to what was agreed". In addition, he urges the authorities to "activate these alternative measures and the consequent expansion of compensations, which will allow the banana sector to cushion the increase in expenses in banana cultivation, in a particularly complicated scenario, marked by the collapse of prices and overproduction in 2023".

According to the information in the statement, every day, a thousand tons of Canary Island bananas are sent to mainland Spain for ripening and marketing. Until 2021, aid only covered 30% of the expenses derived from transportation. Still, the negotiation between the Canary Government and the central one (both of the Socialist Party at that time) and the political group of Canary Coalition in Congress managed to expand the coverage of 2022 expenses to 55%, still far from the recognition of the REF.

All of them set the objective of expanding aid in 2023 to cover 100% of transportation costs, one of the points on the Canary agenda agreed to bilaterally between the Spanish Government and the Canary Coalition.

The message also highlights the importance of this agricultural production. In 2023, the trade of Canary Island bananas generated an economic impact of more than 500 million euros on the Islands. In the Canary Archipelago, there are 7,500 banana producers, and the sector employs 12,000 people full-time directly with a gross wage bill that already exceeds 200 million euros.