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"It's important that we use what's produced in the EU"
Promotion bananas from Canary Islands presentedOn Friday the 23rd of March the presentation of the banana promotion plan for the ultra peripheral regions took place in Brussels. Francisco Rodriguez Diaz, chairman of Canary growers organisation Asprocan, explained the plans for the coming time. There are three ultra peripheral regions (UPR's): In France, Portugal and the Canary Islands.
The special banana promotion bus
According to Francisco there are a lot of differences between Canary (European) and non-European bananas. "We want the consumer to meet these unique platanos. The growing conditions and the climate on the Canary Islands are ideal. Due to the short distance they can be harvested later. So they are riper when they're picked and contain more sugar, minerals and vitamins." In the coming time Canary bananas will be promoted by using a roadshow. This way consumers can meet these sweet bananas and watch a video about the cultivation and things worth knowing.
Left: Francisco Rodríguez Díaz, chairman of Asprocan and right: Santiago Rodríguez Pérez, financial manager of Asprocan. Both men are also banana growers
Through the programme of the UPR's the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture (MARM) wants to use the Canary banana to put priority on the Belgian and German markets. The Spanish ministry is working closely with Organisation of Banana Producers of the Canary Islands (Asprocan) for this. The programme focusses on breeders, consumers, opinion leaders, producers and local processing companies. The total budget for this European programme is 16 million Euro, spread over three years. In the coming time consumers in France, Germany, and Belgium will meet Canary bananas. This will happen in the special banana bus. "We chose these countries because a lot of fruit is consumed there. Of course we're not ruling out the possibility of focussing on other countries in the future."
The chairman indicated that the Spanish market has been difficult. "Due to the economic crisis and the competition from the Central American bananas it's a necessity for us to promote ours in Europe. The liberalising of the European market, where our main customers are, is the biggest problem."
The largest part of the Canary bananas is consumed in Spain at the moment. Spain now imports more and more from countries like Central and Latin America. According to the chairman it's hard to compete against these countries because they supply the bananas for a lower price. "We use EU rules and the costs are higher for us than in these low wage countries." On the Canary Islands the banana is called 'plantanos'. The inhabitants called all other bananas 'bananas'.
The chairman Francisco Rodríguez Díaz
"The chairman Asprocan said that 10,000 growers on the Canary Islands have a total area of 9.500 hectares. "5 islands produce plantanos and 25,000 people work in the cultivation. Together with the tomato this is an important food product for us. 1 million kilos of bananas is transported from the various islands daily." Francisco emphasizes that this couldn't have been done without the support form the EU. "it's important the we use what is produced in the EU. Or it contradicts the EU laws."
Publication date: 3/27/2012
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