In the face of rising global costs, the African banana producers association has urged retailers to help build a fair, sustainable supply chain.
In an open letter signed by the heads of banana associations in Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and Ghana, Afruibana president Joseph Owona Kono says that the organisation wishes to “draw the attention of stakeholders to the cost increases experienced by the global banana sector and our continent in particular.”
He says that seafreight costs alone are projected to rise by 60% in 2022, while he anticipates an increase in purchasing costs of around 20 to 25% depending on the product (cardboard boxes, fertilisers, phytosanitary products).
Added to these figures, operating costs are projected to rise between 3-5%. “However, it should be noted that these cost increases have so far not translated into increases in the price of bananas.
On the contrary, the year 2021 will remain as a very difficult year for the market, with the prices of boxes of 18.5kg, even temporarily falling below €10 according to the CIRAD Observatory.
“These bottom-low levels themselves come at the end of a long and deep deterioration in the purchase prices that producers have had to cope with on their own year after year.”
The letter concludes by saying that: “In this context, we are counting on the commitment of our European retail partners to make the banana value chains ever fairer and resolutely sustainable. Indeed, only fair selling prices can allow a fair distribution of the value between the actors of our chain. These fair prices are also the key to initiate the essential investments of the ecological and energy transition of our sector during this decade.”
“Everyone in our chain, from producer to end-buyer and consumer, must ‘do their part’ and contribute to the positive development of our sector.
“It is in this state of mind that we wish to prepare for the coming year with our partners in the retailing sector and, with them, ensure that, in 2022 and beyond, the chain that connects our 30,000 employees to millions of European consumers is always fairer and resolutely sustainable.”
Identifying the hidden costs of food production
In a related development, Dutch organics supplier Eosta has welcomed this month’s request from the EU Parliament to the EU Commission to include True Cost Accounting in the Green Deal’s Farm to Fork food strategy. A global coalition, which Eosta has been involved in from the start, is calling on the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) to put True Cost Accounting high on the agenda, to identify the hidden costs of food production to health, environment and society and take appropriate fiscal measures.
The coalition says: “Our organisations, which collectively represent multiple sectors, governments, advocates, investors, CSOs, and individual producers worldwide believe that to bring about change we must fundamentally redefine how we measure the real cost of our food.
“The UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) process must commit to measuring the true costs of food, and embrace a measurable systems approach with transparency and integrity.“
“We seek a systems approach in action, not just words, that recognises the environmental, social and health impacts of food systems policies and practices, and use this understanding to inform decision-making. This is the time to step away from old ways of working, break from the damaging status quo and build critical mass around a vision of food systems that are renewable, healthy, equitable, resilient, diverse, inclusive and interconnected.”
“A system that measures the true costs and value of food systems creates a race to the top, where all competitors are measured by the same rules. In 2021 if an industry is causing harm to the environment or public health, that calls for change — not for delaying or deferring progress.“
Partners representing more than 400 multinational companies and over 30 of the leading philanthropic organisations have reportedly committed to true value approaches.
Sources: Fruitnet, Reefertrends
Photo: Banana Link / James Robinson Photography