African and Caribbean governments have reacted angrily to a proposed deal by the EU to end the so-called “banana wars”, which have been going on for some 16 years.
An agreement is expected to be signed this week between the EU and Latin American countries that would see import taxes on bananas slashed.
Over the next seven years, import taxes on Latin American bananas would go from the current €176 a tonnes to €114 a tonne, according to the proposed deal, incensing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), many of which are former colonies and accustomed to special access to European markets.
According to the Guardian newspaper, ministers from ACP countries called an emergency meeting and released a statement questioning the EU’s commitment to tackling poverty.
Many fear that the increase in competition from far larger producers in Latin America will threaten the livelihoods of ACP farmers.
Europe has reportedly offered ACP countries €190m in “banana accompanying measures”, in order to help growers adapt to harsher market conditions and compensate those forced out of business. However, ACP governments have said that €250m is the minimum necessary.