Europe saves the Canarian Banana ‘in extremis’: it will not cut its aid

The archipelago receives 268 million European aid to protect its agriculture, which in some municipalities accounts for more than 40% of employment.

Europe abandons the Canarian Banana: leaves its aid and the employment of 15,000 families on 'stand by'

It has been made to beg, but finally this friday afternoon The Trilogue formed by the European Commission, Parliament and Council have agreed not to cut 3.9% of the funds allocated to the ORs (Outermost Regions) and on which the Banana de Canarias depended. In this way, and according to Invertia, the funds allocated to these productions remain until 2022.

“After the decision adopted today by the Trilogue, the Government of Spain will have to mobilize the European funds assigned to Spain to cover 50% of the cut to the Posei de Canarias file,” he says. Domingo Martin Ortega, President of the Association of Organizations of Producers of Bananas of the Canary Islands (Asprocan).

That is to say, 5 million euros per year will have to be covered by the Spanish CAP of 10 million per year (70 million euros in total until 2027). The other 50% will come from European funds.

However, from Asprocan they warn that “this new mechanism had never been applied in the agricultural policy of the EU, therefore, now, all the necessary steps must be taken to guarantee that this measure is fulfilled, before its entry into effective, scheduled for January 1, 2021 “. In addition, from 2022 an agreement will be negotiated again until 2027.

The European Parliament had already announced it was in favor of keeping the funds, while the European Commission seemed to be on the same page as well. The only thing missing was the decision of the Council, which finally arrived this Friday in a positive way for the Canary Islands.

268 million

The Canary Islands receive 268 million euros in aid of Europe to protect its agriculture, which in some municipalities of the islands accounts for more than 40% of employment. The proposed cut would mean 10 million euros less annually for the Canary Islands, which would become 20 million euros a year less, considering the increase in prices since 2013.

It fits remember that the ORs represent only 0.01% of the total Community agricultural funds of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Irrelevant figure within European budgets, but necessary to maintain productions such as the Plátano de Canarias.

The producers ask that the ORs remain (despite the 20% deficit they have presented as a result of inflation since 2007) and that they would reach 280 million euros, taking as a reference a Posei token at updated prices.

The gold of the Canary Islands

The banana industry in Spain is 100% centralized in the Canary Islands and employs (direct and indirect) more than 15,000 families. Each year an average of more than 400,000 tons of bananas are produced, which account for more than 85% of the archipelago’s agricultural exports, with a direct economic contribution of more than 430 million euros.

“More than a million kilos are exported to the Peninsula daily, which compensates for the islands’ enormous dependence on foreign countries (imports) and allows a 10% saving in the cost of importing basic products,” according to Asprocan.

The cut in these aid could further depress the delicate economic situation that the islands are experiencing as a result of the paralysis of the tourism sector due to the Covid pandemic (despite the opening of corridors).

Canarian bananas account for 70% of community production and represents a gross wage bill of more than 175 million euros. It is the second most consumed fruit in our country, with more than 400 million kilograms sold each year.