As efforts to defend the interest of African fruit farming, fruit producers and exporters from Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and Ghana has officially launched the first Pan-Atlantic Association – Afruibana – allow fruit producers on the continent to combine their efforts with a view to having their voices heard better in international trade.
This was officially launched in Brussels Belgium during a visit by Cameroon Trade Minister, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, to European institutions on Wednesday, 19 July where representative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) during the various Councils of Ministers addressed the banana industry.
According to Chairman of AFRUIBANA, Joseph Kono, African bananas, for historical and geographical reasons in the Ivory Coast and Cameroon, the agricultural sector makes up approximately 60% of the economy in these two countries.
“Farming is, thus, one of the main sources of jobs and income for most of the rural population. For this reason, AFRUIBANA has an essential role in reinforcing our ties with European agencies, favouring trade between Africa and Europe, promoting socioeconomic development and contributing in the fight against migration,” he expressed.
Meanwhile, having lauded the minister, Vice-Chairman of AFRUIBANA, Jean-Marie Kacou Gervais, affirmed that a number of future European political decisions are of a strategic importance for African producers. “AFRUIBANA's role is to raise awareness among European decision-makers about the interest of maintaining and developing African farming not only to continue exporting quality bananas but also to develop the economy in our countries by shoring up rural employment and family-run farms.”
Interestingly, AFRUIBANA is an association established under Cameroonian law and gathers several representatives of producers and exporters from different sub-Saharan countries, notably Assobacam, the Cameroon banana industry association, and OBAMCI, an Ivory Coast organisation of producers and exporters of bananas, pineapples, mangoes and other fruits. AFRUIBANA is an open platform with a mission to defend the interests of African fruit farming.
In Brussels, AFRUIBANA has, thus, become the permanent representative of a community of fruit producers and exporters across Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and Ghana. The association will take steps to support competitiveness and export fruits to EU countries. It will also serve as an interface between producers in the sector and European institutions to secure financing and support for African fruit growers.
Indeed, the establishment has a key role in the representation and advocacy for asserting the quality and importance of agro-industrial value chains across the African continent in terms of economy, social affairs and environmental impact.
Therefore, the Association disclosed that several important meetings would be on AFRUIBANA's institutional agenda in the coming months. They include: the EU-Africa Summit in Abidjan at the end of November 2017, with the adoption of a new road map for relations between the two continents, the preparation of the post-Cotonou Agreement as of next January or even the provisions for meetings between the EU and Latin American producers during the first quarter in next year.