Corbana, Costa Rica

"Conditions to create a new banana war triggered by commercial interests"

The Latin American banana industry is in revolt against the plan of the German supermarket chain, Aldi,  to pay one euro less for a box of fruit. The Ecuador Times published the reaction of Eduardo Ledesma, the director of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (Aebe): “We have to structure an external front with all the producing countries of the region to prevent Aldi from making this inequality, In no case can this reduction of one euro per box  be allowed, because it will affect the entire banana chain."

Banana industry into action
Different associations of banana producers went into action by publishing open letters to Aldi and press releases to inform the market why this is unacceptable. Last week we published the open letter from the Ecuadorian banana sector. This is followed by other producing origins, such as Colombia. The Colombian association ASBAMA (la Asociación de Bananeros del Madalena y La Guajira) released an article explaining it is not viable to export bananas with these conditions. In addition, we published another article from the Guatemalan association APIB. “We make a call to action and challenge retailers not to reduce prices to the banana box, but rather, to increase $1.00 to aid in making a better life possible for our industry's workers.”

Costa Rica - Corbana
Then there is Costa Rica that even mentions a new banana war in their open letter. Costa Rican banana producers, represented by the National Banana Corporation, are raising their voices to denounce information that has been circulating in the specialized media, which reports that ALDI, one of the largest supermarket chains in the European Union, intends to lower the price of imported bananas by €0.60 a box.

Banana producers admit this is not the first time that supermarket chains attempt to lower the price of bananas produced in Latin America although—according to figures set out by FAO—they garner the highest percentage gain in the marketing of the fruit. The banana industry is recognized as an important engine for economic and social advancement in fruit-producing countries. In the case of Costa Rica, the banana industry alone generates over 150,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“After 19 years of conflict with the European Union, and after Latin America won an international arbitration before the WTO—with a positive outcome thanks to the signing of a Partnership Agreement—today the supermarkets are attempting to create the conditions for a new war triggered by commercial interests,” pointed out Jorge Sauma, CORBANA’S General Manager.

This new threat by the supermarket chain is unjustified, when in countries such as Costa Rica substantial efforts have been made by banana producers to keep 99% of the farms certified in the environmental, social and labour aspects, precisely aimed at offering fruit that is produced in harmony with nature and the workforce. Today, this European supermarket chain wants to punish the banana producers with a significant drop in the price of the fruit, which is inconsistent with what these companies preach to their clients.

“If the threat of the Aldi supermarkets materializes, it would have a direct impact on producers and would definitely reduce the possibility of maintaining the social and environmental conditions in banana farms,” assured Mr. Sauma.

This significant threat would lead to the creation of a unified block formed by the banana-producing countries in Latin America, which represent 75% of the bananas imported by the European Union.


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