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Fruit producers and exporters create association to defend their interests

AFRUIBANA, an association of fruit producers and exporters from Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana has been launched in Brussels by Cameroon trade minister, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana. As representative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) during the various Councils of Ministers addressing the banana industry, the minister has been lauded for this initiative, which will allow African fruit producers to combine their efforts with a view to having a strong voice in international trade.

Afruibana is an association established under Cameroonian law and gathers representatives of producers and exporters from different sub-Saharan countries, notably Assobacam, the Cameroon banana industry association, and OBAMCI, an Ivorian 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 will be the permanent representative 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 serve as a link between producers in the sector and European institutions to secure financing and support for African fruit growers. Afruibana will also play 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 Afruibana chairman Joseph Owona Kono. In Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon, the agricultural sector makes up nearly 60 percent of the economy.

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 our ties with European agencies, favouring trade between Africa and Europe, promoting socioeconomic development and contributing in the fight against migration,’ said Kono.

‘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.

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