Fruit producers and exporters from Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and Ghana have launched Afruibana, a representative association of fruit producers on the continent in international trade.
Afruibana is established under Cameroonian law and gathers representatives of producers and exporters from different sub-Saharan countries including the Cameroon banana industry association, Assobacam; and Obamci, an Ivory Coast organization of producers and exporters of bananas, pineapples, mangoes and other fruits.
It was launched in Brussels during a visit by Cameroon Trade Minister Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana to European institutions.
The platform to defend the interests of African fruit farming will also serve as an interface between producers in the sector and European institutions to secure financing and support for African fruit farmers.
Afruibana will represent and advocate for the quality and importance of agro-industrial value chains across Africa in terms of economy, social affairs and environmental impact.
Afruibana Chairman Joseph Owona Kono noted that the European Union is the main outlet for African bananas, for historical and geographical reasons.
The agricultural sector makes up approximately 60 per cent of the economy in the Ivory Coast and Cameroon, making it 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 socio-economic development and contributing in the fight against migration,” Kono added.
Afruibana will also be tasked with raising awareness among European decision-makers about the interest of maintaining and developing African farming to continue exporting quality bananas and developing the economy in these countries by scaling rural employment and family-run farms.
“A number of future European political decisions are of a strategic importance for African producers,” Jean-Marie Kacou Gervais, Vice-Chairman of Afruibana said.
Following the launch will be meetings on Afruibana’s institutional agenda, in the near future the EU-Africa Summit in Abidjan in November 2017 that will adopt a new roadmap for relations between the two continents.