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Spain: 11 million kilos of bananas withdrawn by Canary Islands up to July
Canary bananas have been suffering a problem every year, or at least in the most recent campaigns - the withdrawal figures are exorbitant.
Last year, in 2016, banana producers on the islands had to throw away about 16 million kilos of the fruit (15.4 million up to week 34) due to the collapse of the Peninsular market, which is the only export destination.
A little less than a year later, just one month before having the complete records of August, the situation resembles that of 2016. At the end of July of this year; that is, until week 30 (24-30 July), the volume of harvested fruit that has not been marketed already stood at 11 million kilos. The total weekly shipments to the Peninsula amount to around 6.5 million kilos, while the total volume harvested weekly stands at around 7.5-8 million kilos.
If the current rate of banana destruction is maintained, the total figure in 2017 may be at levels close to 2016 or even above that threshold. If that was the case, it would be another record- but not a good one. In any case, it all still depends on what will happen in the four weeks of August, a month in which the Peninsular market tends to remain very slow.
The 11 million kilos withdrawn so far, which is the volume of the so-called "pica" (discards) authorised by the Council of Agriculture of the Government of the Canary Islands upon request from Asprocan, have gone to the Food Bank (around 25% of the 11 million), local livestock farms, in theory for animal feed, and authorised waste managers.
In 2016, the total banana "pica" represented around 4% of the production that had been marketed in the previous year: about 375 million kilos, according to data from Asprocan itself confirmed by the Council of Agriculture. This year, the relative value of the fruit withdrawn compared to what was marketed in 2016 is expected to be lower due to the combination of an increase in production in that annual period and the increase in shipments to the Peninsula (with some 390 million kilos sold).
Unlike last year, when there was a greater supply of bananas due to meteorological issues (which were more benign), which was used as an argument by Asprocan to justify great withdrawals of the fruit (more than 15 million kilos), in 2017 it hasn't been the case, or at least not at the same levels. Despite this, and as revealed by current statistical data, the destruction of bananas will be close to last year's threshold.
Canary bananas have a problem, and it could become a structural one with no solution. Growers at least haven't found one yet, and it hasn't been solved with the support of the Canary Islands Government, which distributes 141 million Euro in Posei aid year after year among all local producers; money that comes from European Union funds (about 0.38 Euro per kilo of fruit marketed, according to the 2015 campaign, with 375 million kilos sold).
At present, it is a fact that the islands produce more than they can sell, at least based on how the fruit harvesting is organised. There is more volume than needed when the Peninsular market demands less, in spring and especially in summer, and the prices received by the grower are also lower in this period. It is a disease for which Asprocan (Canary growers) has yet to find a medicine.
Publication date: 8/28/2017
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