The Canary Islands' banana-producing sector has asked the Government of Spain to negotiate so that the European Council decides, in the discussion they'll have with the Parliament and the Commission on this Friday, in favor of maintaining the aid of the Posei program for the Community's outermost regions, which includes the Canary Islands.
The manager of the Association of Banana Producer Organizations of the Canary Islands (Asprocan), Sergio Caceres, said that the current proposal reduces aid by about 4%, to 258 million euro per year, which represents 10 million euro per year less than in the current 2014-2020 programming.
Caceres said they focused their attention on the European Council because, to the best of their knowledge, it is the body still doesn't have a defined position. The groups in Parliament have shown their opposition to a reduction in the Posei - some even opted to increase it - and the European Commission has joined this proposal in recent hours, he said.
He also emphasized that these aids are needed to maintain the competitiveness of a sector that faces difficulties because of its geographical situation. “We are far from the continent and fragmented, so we do a titanic task of concentrating all producers.” "The banana sector has been facing a critical situation for years: we cannot afford to lose this aid; 15,000 producer families depend on it," he stressed.
"It is vital that Spain negotiates in the next 48 hours so that, in the worst-case scenario, the Council opts for maintaining the aid that we now have," stated the president of Asprocan, Domingo Martin.
He added that, without the aid, they would be unable to face the very strong and insurmountable competition they have in the global market. The EU has increasingly dismantled the protection for bananas by allowing American imports - of bananas - to enter paying fewer tariffs, he added.
Martin also said the banana sector was a strategic sector for the Canarian economy and that the Government needed to become actively involved in its defense.