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Spain: Asprocan Worried for the Banana Industry of the Canary Islands

27.11.2020

This November 27, the three main bodies of the European Union -Council, Parliament and Commission- will decide whether to reduce by 3.9% the Posei funds destined to the outermost regions (RUP), among which is the Canary Islands, after the decrease in the budget community derived from the United Kingdom exiting the group. The measure could leave the Spanish islands with around €10 million less per year in the aid funds they receive, which would mean, as explained by the Association of Organizations of Canary Island Banana Producers (Asprocan), the dismantling of the Canary Island Banana sector, " for not being able to compete with fruit and vegetable companies, among which there are multinationals that import bananas to the European market from other origins. 

The entity states that the market for Plátano de Canarias and bananas from other origins in Europe is international and is dominated by a limited number of firms that control the production in Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean and Pacific areas, "where, in many cases, labour conditions are precarious, chemical substances banned in the European Union are applied, and price cuts are widely practised," according to some European producers. This situation makes it essential to maintain the amount of the Posei aid so that the Plátano de Canarias does not disappear, in addition to counteracting the difficulties of its geographical position and natural features (smallholdings, insularity or orography). 

Asprocan added that 'Plátano de Canarias' is the only banana in the world that has obtained the recognition of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and one of the most important agri-food brands in Spain since it represents more than 75% of the volume of fruits with a seal of differentiated quality that is produced in the national territory. It also highlights the fact that it is the only agricultural sector in our country that groups 100% of producers of the same crop, so it is "difficult" for the six producer organizations (OPPs) that form it to merge to achieve greater bargaining power. 

For this reason, it has asked the Spanish Government to negotiate "intensively" during the next 48 hours to keep the € 267 million for the 2014-2020 period, instead of the € 258 million sets in the 2020-2024 proposal. Especially because they consider that "there are no arguments for reducing aid since there are possibilities of covering the funds without affecting other sectors." 

The Association of Organizations of Banana Producers of the Canary Islands (Asprocan) is made up of the OPPs Agrícola Llanos de Sardina, SAT Agricultores de Tenerife, Grupo Regional de Cooperativas Plataneras (Coplaca), Cooperativas Unidas de La Palma (Cupalma), SAT Europlátano and SAT Canary Islands banana trees. Between all of them, they bring together about 8,000 farmers, who add 8,966 hectares of crops and produce an average of 420,000 tons of Plátano de Canarias annually. 

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