The archipelago receives 268 million European aid to protect its agriculture, which in some municipalities accounts for more than 40% of employment.
On November 27, the future of the Canarian Banana is decided. Why? Because that is when Europe will decide the future of more than 15,000 families that are dedicated to the production of a Spain brand product. Plus, is the last chance after the wasted recently by the Spanish Government to which the associations ask for help.
At stake is negotiating, or rather pulling back, the 3.9% cut in funds destined for the ORs (Outermost Regions). These regions are: Canary Islands (Spain); Martinique, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Mayotte, Reunion, Saint Martin (France); Azores and Madeira (Portugal).
The decision is now in the hands of the Trilogue (European Commission, Parliament and Council) that will meet this November 27 and will finally make a decision in the face of an agonizing situation for the Canary Islands.
How is the situation 48 hours from the final decision? At the moment, there is a large majority in the European Parliament to maintain the funds, while the European Commission seems to be in tune as well.
“Yesterday the council of commissioners of the European Commission was held and the decision has been made to be open to covering this percentage of aid with Community funds. This is good news, ”says Sergio Cáceres, manager of the Canarian Banana Producers Organizations (Asprocan).
And it only remains that the Council, represented by the German presidency. “We have to ensure that the Council arrives with a firm decision to support Parliament’s approach,” he says. Something in which the association is not entirely convinced and expect the Spanish Government to support them.
In total, each year, The Canary Islands receive 268 million euros of aid from Europe to protect their agriculture, which in some municipalities on the islands accounts for more than 40% of employment.
The cut proposed by Brussels 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 should be remembered 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 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.
“Every day more than a million kilos are exported to the Peninsula with which the enormous dependence on the outside (imports) of the islands is compensated and allows a 10% saving in the costs of importing basic products”, points out the manager of 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.