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Spain: Canary bananas still excluded from transport aid
Following the various amendments to the General State Budget discussed so far, an increase in the budget to subsidise the transport of goods to or from the Canary Islands has been announced and will go from covering 70% to 100% of the cost of transport.
In relation to this fact, the Association of Canary Banana Producer Organizations (ASPROCAN) wished to stress that the transport of bananas from the Canary Islands will continue to be expressly excluded from these subsidies.
The Canary banana sector is the main exporting agricultural subsector of the Canary Islands, with an export volume to mainland Spain which reached 381 million kilos in 2016, representing more than 75% of the agricultural exports from the islands.
These shipments, totalling more than one million kilos per day, are carried out every week of the year and single-handedly compensate for the reduction of the cost of imports of other products to the islands.
In fact, Canary bananas manage to compensate part of the high cost of the region's external dependence. To be precise, the reduction of the cost of imports to the Canary Islands thanks to banana exports is of 4.5% per year, reaching 10% in the case of basic food products, such as fruit, legumes and vegetables.
This has consequences on the purchasing power of all Canary citizens. As shown by different economic studies, the banana export affects the cost of living for the population in the Canary Islands by between 0.2 and 0.5 annual points of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In total, €132 million a year in services and supplies, which help boost the economy of the islands and generate more than 12,000 jobs, with a gross annual salary of more than 150 million Euro.
Last April, the Parliament of the Canaries unanimously approved a non-legislative proposal to enforce the subsidy to the transport of bananas. This served to denounce the situation of income crisis for banana producers as a result of the EU market opening up to third country bananas, as well as the growing unfair competition from international banana export companies.
The banana sector understands that helping the primary sector's export subsectors is not only necessary for thousands of people and workers, but is also a strategic need for our institutions and a positive move for all Canary citizens. For this reason, banana producers in the Canary Islands have repeatedly requested that bananas to be included in the scheme of aid to transport, without any other subsector being harmed in the process, as the goal should be the strengthening of all productive subsectors of the Islands.
Publication date: 6/2/2017
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