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Tom Joyce

BY TOM JOYCE

@tomfruitnet

ACP call for fresh commitments

Banana producers from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries last week launched the Appeal of Abidjan to defend their interests on the European market

ACP call for fresh commitments

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At the initiative of Afruibana, the association of African fruit producers and exporters, ACP banana producers last week launched the ‘Appeal of Abidjan’ to European authorities and international institutions.

The aim of the appeal is to persuade the EU to safeguard the interests of ACP producers on the European market, in the face of the erosion of preferential tariff rates for ACP bananas.

The ceremony took place at the Radisson Blu hotel in Abdidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in the presence of Ivorian Minister of Agriculture Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, Cameroon's Minister of Commerce, Luc Magloire Mbarga, and many ambassadors from African, Caribbean and European countries, as well as representatives of international institutions.

For three days, delegations of banana producers, including Assobacam (Cameroon), Obam-CI and Ocab (Ivory Coast), Adobanano (Dominican Republic), BPA (Ghana), as well as Asprocan (Canary Islands) and the association of Madeira banana producers, worked together to promote a banana sector that was sustainable and responsible and defended their common interests on the European market.

Delegations benefited from interventions from experts from the African Development Bank and French research centre CIRAD and were able to visit the banana plantation in Grand-Fleuve and the fruit terminal in Abidjan.

At the end of the seminar, ACP banana producers laid out their Appeal of Abidjan, which included three main demands:

1. That the EU confirm its commitment not to lower tariffs applied to Andean and Central American countries below €75/tonne and to maintain this commitment by not proceeding to dismantle tariffs.

2. That a regulatory mechanism be adopted to replace the stabilisation mechanism set forth in the agreements with Central American and Andean countries, whose application is coming to an end. The appeal recommends that a mechanism be devised after consultation with stakeholders, with new and more transparent evaluation criteria and effective intervention.

3. That a new support programme be set up to respond both to specific national strategies and to the global strategy of ACP countries to facilitate private sector investment in developing local production capacities.

"The erosion of our preferential tariff and the upcoming removal of stabilisation are all reasons that prompted Afruibana to organise this Appeal of Abidjan with ACP producers,” said Joseph Owona Kono, president of Afruibana. “We now expect from the European Union, the main trading partner of the continent, concrete commitments for shared development with Africa."

"The banana sector represents more than 60,000 direct and indirect jobs in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon,” explained Jean-Marie Kakou Gervais, vice-president of Afruibana. “It is an industry that plays a vital role in rural areas in terms of development, job creation and settlement creation."

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