Côte d’Ivoire has overtaken Cameroon as the leading banana producer in Africa, its producers’ focus on sustainability failing to hold back the expansion of the sector in the country, according to Afrikipresse.
The banana sector employs more than 50,000 people in Côte d’Ivoire, and that figure is constantly rising, with production areas continuing to increase rapidly.
The country’s producers have sought to differentiate themselves from their larger Latin American rivals with an emphasis on growing a natural product and respecting the environment, limiting the use of chemical inputs.
Côte d’Ivoire produces around 360,000 tonnes of bananas a year, compared with 4m tonnes from Latin America.
With assistance from the Côte d’Ivoire government and the EU, the country has witnessed the rapid modernisation of the sector.
Exports go mainly to the EU, predominately to France, the UK, Italy and Spain, where African producers have received preferential treatment compared with their Latin American competitors.
However, with the Banana Accompanying Measures that assist ACP banana-producing nations coming to an end, producers in Côte d’Ivoire will have to make improvements on quality and productivity in order to remain competitive.
Also key will be to communicate the quality, taste and health of Côte d’Ivoire bananas, as well as the environmentally friendly production methods used.