Africa’s billion dollar banana industry strengthens representation in Europe

Africa’s top exporters of banana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Ghana, have joined forces under the umbrella of an association Afruibana, to ensure the protection of their interests in Europe.

The Banana Producers Association (BPA) of Ghana is the latest country to join Afribuana, which was created as a union of several associations of fruit growers and exporters across Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and Ghana. The association represents and seeks to air the views of African fruit producers to international institutions within the framework of bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations.

Ghana’s banana exports to Europe lags only behind Ivory Coast and Cameroon, where banana is a big deal. The banana industry in both countries employs more than 15,000 people and provides nearly 50,000 indirect jobs in each country. Together, Ivory Coast and Cameroon produced nearly 600,000 tons of bananas in 2017, earning $667.9 million from exports (Ivory Coast – $350.1m; Cameroon – $317.8m). The two countries are also among the world’s fastest-growing bananas exporters since 2013, with Cameroon up by 280.8 percent and Ivory Coast up by 131.5 percent. The growth can be attributed to adequate representation provided by Afribuana. The BPA hopes to become part of this growth and also wants to be party of a body that ensures its safety post Brexit.

“We are very pleased to join Afruibana to contribute to the work of the association for the defense of African interests in Brussels,” confirms the president of the Banana Producers Association, Ghana, Mr. Anthony Kofi Blay. “Ghana’s banana producers are all the more worried about Brexit, given that the UK is an important share of our market in Europe”.

President of Afruibana Joseph Owona Kono noted that there are upcoming issues that will need banana producers from Africa to stand together to defend the continent’s interests.

“The European institutional agenda of 2018 is quite full and Afruibana will have to defend African interests with all its weight, on the topics of tariff regimes applied to the banana imports from Latam countries and the maintenance of stabilization mechanisms for the banana market,” Kono said.

BPA joins the Banana Association of Cameroon (Assobacam) and the Organization of Banana, Pineapple and Mango Producers-Exporters of Côte d’Ivoire. (OBAM-CI) to ensure Afruibana now represents the three main African banana-exporting countries to the European Union (EU).

Ghana exported 70,373 tons of bananas to the European market, just behind Cameroon (270,377 tons) and Côte d’Ivoire (315,797 tons). For these three countries, the European market accounts for more than 80% of their export market. The European Union is the world’s biggest important of bananas.