Several African fruit producers and exporters have come together to create the first Pan-African Association, AFRUIBANA, in defense of their interests.
The association, established under Cameroonian law, gathers representatives of fruit producers and exporters from different sub-Saharan countries, including Assobacam, the Cameroon banana industry association, and OBAMCI, an Ivory Coast organisation of producers and exporters of bananas, pineapples, mangoes and other fruits
The association, which would allow fruit producers on the continent to combine their efforts with a view to having their voices heard better in international trade, was launched by Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, the Cameroon Trade Minister, Wednesday in Brussels during a visit to European institutions.
AFRUIBANA is an open platform with a mission to defend the interests of African fruit farming, is envisaged to take steps to support competitiveness and export of 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 while playing 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.
“The European Union is the main outlet for African bananas, for historical and geographical reasons, says Joseph Owona Kono, Chairman of AFRUIBANA, adding that in the Ivory Coast and Cameroon, the agricultural sector makes up approximately 60 percent of the economy in both countries.
He noted that farming is 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 ties with European agencies, favouring trade between Africa and Europe, promoting socio-economic development and contributing in the fight against migration.
“A number of future European political decisions are of a strategic importance for African producers. AFRUIBANA’s role is therefore 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”, explains Jean-Marie Kacou Gervais, Vice-Chairman of AFRUIBANA.
Several important meetings will be on AFRUIBANA’s institutional agenda in the coming months, namely 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 January 2018, or even the provisions for meetings between the EU and Latin American producers during the first quarter in 2018.