A joint position against the high production costs of musaceae and actions to fight against the phytosanitary threat of Fusarium Race 4 Tropical (Foc R4T) was agreed by the Ministers of Agriculture of Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and the Dominican Republic, which participated in the Latin American Summit for Banana Unity, convened by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Ecuador, Pedro Álava.
In the final declaration, the ministers of the seven Latin American countries that produce and export bananas and other Musaceae, agreed:
- Within the framework of the concept of shared responsibility, that the compensation amount be established as a reference according to the parameters already used by the only certification that recognizes the exogenous impacts and sustainability efforts of the production and export chain, basing the minimum reference price per country and per Fair Trade certified product, which analyzes the particularities of each country, and a prize of one dollar per additional box.
- To urge, within the framework of regional cooperation in the fight against Fusarium TR4, European international organizations to commit themselves as countries to form an alliance for the management of international resources to combat Foc TR4 with phytosanitary research measures, training and diffusion. Also, that they understand the social, environmental and economic impact that countries would suffer by not protecting themselves from this fungus.
- Make an official visit in person and/or jointly virtual to the Fruit Logistica fair in Berlin, in April this year, and to an agenda in Brussels to promote regional objectives.
For the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Ecuador, Pedro Álava, it is necessary “to constitute a robust common front before importers, supermarkets and shipping companies, demanding that they assume the price increases at this time, only in this way would the true validity of Social Responsibility be understood. Shared, as a moral obligation of all segments and not that the burden is transferred only to producers and exporters”.
“Our countries need to reactivate to avoid social consequences that will imply setbacks to the fair development of the peoples,” said Álava.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Colombia, Rodolfo Zea, highlighted the need to create a joint bloc to dialogue with the countries that purchase musaceae, especially with the European Union, and made available to the countries the actions carried out in his country to contain the Foc R4T and the research processes to have resistant varieties.
Renato Alvarado, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica, suggested dialogue with shipping companies, and work on fair trade throughout the distribution chain. “Producers bear the costs of production on our shoulders and the profits remain in the hands of others,” he said.
José Ángel López Camposeco, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food of Guatemala, supported the creation of a working group to take action and initiate processes to search for alternatives in all the links of the chain. “If the actions are not sustainable, banana production and food security are put at risk.”
Mauricio Guevara, Secretary of State in the Offices of Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras, referred to the increase in the cost of fertilizers that are not making production sustainable, in addition to the effects it causes on producers, while José de la Lastra, National Director of Banana of Panama, offered all the support to this initiative to create a joint action. Meanwhile, Dario Vargas, Vice Minister of Extension and Training of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Dominican Republic, made varieties of musaceae resistant to climate change, droughts, and hurricanes available to Latin American countries.
The attending ministers offered their support given that the production of musaceae is of economic and social importance for Latin American countries.
Within the framework of the Latin American Summit for Banana Unity, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Ecuador invited the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the German Technical Cooperation– Ecuador (GIZ), who provide technical assistance for the strengthening and sustainable development of the musaceae value chain.