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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

FAO urges extra cooperation in banana sector, vital for some least developed and low-income food-deficit nations and smallholder farmers

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Rome – The 4th World Convention of The World Banana Discussion board (WBF), hosted by the Meals and Agriculture Group of the United Nations (FAO), opened at FAO headquarters in the present day to debate an array of challenges confronted by banana producers, together with the impacts of the local weather disaster, excessive power and fertilizer prices, and the unfold of the harmful Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4 (TR4) illness.

In his opening remarks to the WBF, FAO Director-Common QU Dongyu highlighted the significance of banana in a number of elements: “Bananas are among the many most produced, traded and consumed fruits globally, with greater than 1000 varieties produced worldwide they supply important vitamins to many populations.”

Qu famous that the banana sector is especially vital in a few of the least developed and low-income food-deficit nations, the place it contributes not solely to family meals safety as a staple, but additionally to job creation and earnings technology as a money crop. The Director-Common additionally highlighted that he hoped that the convention would profit smallholders probably the most as they proceed to be a precedence.

“Revenue from rising bananas can account for as much as three quarters of the full month-to-month family earnings for smallholder farmers and generate over $10 billion in export revenues yearly, the majority of which accrues to creating nations.”

The convention is aimed toward discovering methods to spice up the banana sector, which faces a number of constraints together with excessive prices of transportation, power, and inputs, particularly fertilizer costs, and the unfold of illnesses equivalent to TR4.

In response to the assorted constraints, the sector ought to “flip these challenges into alternatives via shut collaboration by companions throughout the banana sector,” the FAO Director-Common mentioned. He known as for all stakeholders to work collectively to spice up investments and undertake extra sustainable manufacturing practices.

Qu additionally famous that top inflation has diminished the buying energy of customers, putting bananas underneath an growing competitors from numerous tropical fruits. “Higher market entry would require substantial funding of assets, together with monetary.”

Amongst different members within the Discussion board’s opening occasion, have been Danilo Palacios, Minister of Agriculture of Ecuador, the world’s largest banana exporter, in addition to representatives from Belgium, Cameroon, the European Fee, the Worldwide Labour Group, the Latin American and Caribbean Community of Fairtrade Small Producers and Staff (CLAC)  and the Coordinating Physique of Latin American Banana and Agro-Industrial Unions (COLSIBA). 


The unfold of illnesses is a giant concern within the sector. In 2019, TR4 reached a number of nations in Latin America after a few years of spreading worldwide. Because the Cavendish selection, which kinds the majority of banana exports, is susceptible to the illness, the FAO Director-Common mentioned that selection diversification ought to be a key technique to make sure the way forward for banana commerce.

Nevertheless, he famous that “acceptance by retailers and customers of various varieties stays a problem.” 

On this context, the Convention can also be organizing a Banana Variety Tasting Occasion aimed toward elevating consciousness in regards to the significance of conserving and using the genetic range of bananas.

Banana producers additionally face the daunting problem of local weather change. More and more frequent droughts, floods, hurricanes, and different pure disasters have badly affected the Latin American and Asian producers who account for greater than 95 p.c of the worldwide banana commerce.

The agricultural sector is each a contributor to, and a sufferer of, local weather change and FAO has persistently argued that fast and forceful actions by all stakeholder teams are wanted to handle it

Prices and disruptions

One other concern which the Discussion board is specializing in is the consequences on the banana commerce of excessive transportation prices and transport disruptions in numerous areas of the world, together with within the Black Sea, Pink Sea and Panama Canal, brought on by conflicts, geopolitical tensions and low water ranges.

On the demand facet, preoccupying members in the meantime is the truth that inflation has diminished the buying energy of customers, whereas extra stringent necessities in some main markets could make the manufacturing and export of bananas extra difficult. These cowl a spread of elements, together with fruit high quality, pesticide residue ranges, and environmental and social sustainability, and have an effect on smaller gamers available in the market disproportionately. Nevertheless, they might additionally supply producers alternatives for enhancing their operations, model repute and market entry, with the wanted substantial investments of time and assets.

The discussion board, which was established in 2009, affords its members a spread of instruments and assets to assist the sector turn out to be extra environment friendly, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. These embrace a sensible device for measuring carbon and water footprints, being piloted in 9 nations and a Banana Occupational Well being and Security Initiative (BOHESI), being carried out in Ecuador and Cameroon.


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