Given the situation of uncertainty generated by the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, the European banana sector is closely following the UK's negotiations with banana exporting countries, which are constantly evolving.
In recent days the Association of European Plantain and Banana Producers (APEB) has been able to confirm that the African countries of Ghana and Ivory Coast are negotiating their possible access to the United Kingdom in case of a hard Brexit. Meanwhile, the countries of the Caribbean could already have an agreement with the UK to maintain the same conditions that their bananas have in the rest of the EU.
The United Kingdom is the EU's second-largest market for bananas in terms of volume. Nearly 1 million tons of bananas, i.e. more than 16% of the total volume of the EU market, are marketed in the United Kingdom. About 60% -70% of that amount comes from America (Ecuador, Colombia), and about 370,000 are imported from countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. In the specific case of Africa, nearly 110,000 tons of bananas are imported from Cameroon and Ivory Coast per year.
Given these volumes, the possible effects generated in the EU as a result of the agreements that the United Kingdom can reach with the exporting countries of America and Africa are very relevant, as, if there is a transfer of banana imports to the continent, they would reach an already saturated European market. The total import value of the Community banana market has decreased by more than 12% in the last three years as a result of the over-importation of bananas from third countries.
“We have been following very closely and for a long time the forecasts, production, and marketing conditions of banana exporting countries. In this context, we should be able to tell what their plans and possible actions are to forecast, as best as possible, how they could affect our market in Spain,” stated Domingo Martin, the president of ASPROCAN.
To help them achieve this, an ASPROCAN delegation plans to participate this week, in coordination with the APEB, in a meeting of producers from the Dominican Republic, Belize, and Ivory Coast in Abidjan.