The Association of Colombian Banana Producers (Augura) expects the Congress of the Republic to ratify the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is an important destination for this fruit, the country's third export product. “Colombia only consumes 2% of the bananas it produces; that is to say, the country exports 98% of its production. 82% of all exports are sent to the European Union, and 16% of them go to the United Kingdom,” stated the president of Augura, Emerson Aguirre Medina.
“We have to highlight the importance of continuing the agreement. This industry is the engine of development of the productive regions. 150,000 families in Colombia depend on the bananas produced by our affiliates. This sector generates 35,000 direct jobs nationwide, and 98% of the employees are unionized. Furthermore, we are an example of the excellent relationship between the union, producers, and the association (Sintrainagro),” he added.
According to the association, 100% of the farms in Colombia that are affiliated with Augura and export bananas to the United Kingdom have Fairtrade, Global GAP, and Rainforest Alliance certifications. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the IUF Rel (Latin American Regional of the IUF, the largest union in the region), Colombian banana workers are the best paid agricultural workers in the country, as they are paid 1.8 times the current legal minimum wage.
The country's exports to the UK total $ 470 million annually, accounting for 10% of the shipments sent to the European Union. The union stated that this FTA was essential to continue generating progress in Colombia.