Canaries to destroy 600,000 kilos of bananas
On week 13 of 2017 Asprocan ordered the first pica, or withdrawal of fruit of the year, which means that 1.2 million kilos of the islands' favourite fruit won't reach the markets.
Half of those 1.2 million kilos is expected to be destroyed, 50% (this percentage should go be sent to environmental complexes, authorized agents, or could be used as feed for local cattle, if agricultural waste management is done correctly).
The remaining 50% will be exported to the mainland, with all expenses funded by the farmer, and donated to the Food Bank.
This year's first pica, comes almost two months after the first pica of 2016. Last year, the first order to withdraw bananas took place in the last week of January. Now, almost two months after that date, the sector has to do it again.
What's worse, many farmers think that they will have to conduct it for a long time, just as last year, when the partial withdrawal of fruit began in January and lasted well into the summer, until the end of August.
The first pica of 2017, which corresponds to the current week, week 13, is justified, according to sources of the agricultural market, as there were more than 10 million kilos of fruit marked for packaging.
Thus, if the fruit isn't withdrawn, there would be an excess volume of bananas in the maturing establishments in the Peninsula, which could hardly be assimilated by the usual demand at Easter, two weeks later.
According to agricultural sources, the withdrawal of fruit requested by Asprocan (which currently is headed by, Domingo Martin) to be applied in week 13 was greater than the 1.2 million kilos authorized by the Deputy Ministry of the Primary Sector of the Canary Islands.
The regional department initially requested withdrawing two million kilos.
In 2016, the sector withdrew more than 15 million kilos of fruit, i.e. slightly less than 5% of the fruit marketed the in 2015. Nearly 12 million kilos were destroyed, while the rest was channeled to charity, in this case to the Food Bank in the Peninsula.
The destruction of so much fruit and the weak prices on arrival caused huge losses to the Canary Island banana producers in 2016, many of them had a hard time making a profit without having to rely on the direct aid that the European Union (EU) pays every semester, through the Posei program, i.e. a total of 141 million euro per year to nearly 8,000 recipients in the Canary Islands. ■