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Canary Islands banana sector threatened

It is becoming more and more difficult for banana growers on the Canary Islands and the end is not yet in sight. Because of increasing expenses and lower import tariffs for other bananas one is hardly able to keep one's head above water. The growers receive assistance from the EU, but despite that it remains a hard battle and many work below cost. Spain is the most important sales market for the platano, but this country consumes cheaper bananas all the time from for instance Latin America.
Banana growers association Asprocan does as much as possible to promote the platanos and is looking for other markets. In first instance the association looks at Germany and Belgium. Up to now the export has not as yet started, because it is difficult to convince the supermarkets. The banana sector is of great importance to the Islands and the growers mention that they will not be able to continue in this way for long.

In order to show the importance of this cultivation for the Canary Islands Asprocan
organized a trip for the press of German and Belgium journalists to La Palma. They visited banana growers, a packing factory and water winning stations. According to  Sven Tuytens, requested to be the translator by Asprocan, this trip made a deep impression on many. "The survival of the Islands depends on this. If this sector would disappear an enormous unemployment will be the result. This is now already around thirty percent and that is higher than the average on the Spanish mainland. 25,000 jobs are involved. Still more unemployed will be untenable in the long term. It is very important that the bananas keep part of the population in the country. Also for tourists it will be of less interest to visit those when the banana sector disappears. La Palma for instance. The entire society is involved with bananas. What Asprocan wants to achieve is that Europe is serious about this story and that these European bananas are shown on the shelves."    

Publication date: 7/9/2013


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