The European Commission has adopted proposals to reform its banana aid arrangements for EU producers, bringing them into line with other agricultural sectors and ensuring a fair standard of living for producers, according to

Mariann Fischer Boel, member of the European Commission, responsible for agriculture and rural development, told the website that the current aid scheme for EU banana producers was a “relic from the past” and “has to change”.

“Producers are artificially isolated from the market by payments which automatically compensate them for price changes. This is inconsistent with our modernised Common Agricultural Policy, which aims to encourage producers to follow market signals,” she said.

Instead of the current scheme which compensates growers for small drops in prices, the EC is proposing to adopt the POSEI programme - measures to assist growing areas Guadeluope and Martinique, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. Money for bananas produced in other regions will be transferred into the Single Payment Scheme, which applies to agricultural products covered by previous reforms, the website said.

Fischer Boel added: “The budget we propose is €280 million (£188m) a year, of which Spain will get 50.4 per cent, France will get 46.1 per cent, Portugal will get 3.1 per cent and Greece 0.4 per cent. For producers in Greece, Cyprus and continental Portugal, the support will be included in the decoupled Single Payment Scheme introduced for other sectors in the reforms of 2003, 2004 and 2005.

"The budget here is €3.4m (£2.3m) for Cyprus, €1.1m (£740,000) for Greece and €0.1m (£67,000) for Portugal.

“I strongly believe that POSEI is the best option for the EU banana sector and the best service we can provide to the sustainability of the producing regions in the long run. With this reform, banana production will continue to play a leading role in the future of our outermost regions.”