Banana Trade and Environmental Sustainability in the Gulf of Urabá, Colombia

by Alfio Cerami                                                                                     REV: 21/5/2018

Source: © 2018 Planet for the Planet and RapidEye satellite imagery (February 2018).

 

Colombia is one of the major exporters of bananas in Latin America.

In 2017, global exports of bananas corresponded to approximately 18.1 million tonnes. Colombia exported 1.9 million tonnes, worth hundred millions of US dollars.

On January  2017, Colombia was subjected to a tariff reduction from  103 EUR to 96 EUR/tonne under the EU-Andean agreements. The objective of this tariff reduction was to foster international trade, whilst promoting Colombia’s trade growth.

However, the prices of bananas are still too low. In 2016, global banana import prices ranged from 800 USD to 1000 USD per tonne. Wholesale prices from 0.80 USD/Kg to 1.60 USD/Kg. Retail prices from 1.20 USD/Kg to 2.20 USD/Kg.

The Gulf of Urabá is one of the main banana production areas in Colombia.

Banana production areas amount to approximately 70 percent of all agricultural zones.

The Gulf of Urabá is one of the main banana production areas in Colombia. Banana production areas amount to approximately 70 percent of all agricultural zones.

Trade in bananas produces growth and development, but it also causes environmental sustainability challenges. The ships that transport bananas create sediments in rivers. Deforestation for agricultural production increases. Native populations are exploited and displaced. The trade in bananas is also responsible for asymmetrical and unequal urbanization (see satellite imagery).

Fair trade agreements are slowly being introduced. But there is still a long way to go for more inclusive growth and development.

The Bananeras de Urabá in the municipality of Turbo was a co-founder of UNIBAN SA. It is now one of the largest banana exporters of Colombia.

In 2005, Bananeras de Urabá became a Fairtrade Certified enterprise. In 2012, it sold 1.2 million banana boxes (18.14 kg each). The Fairtrade Minimum Price for each 18.14 Kg box corresponds to USD 9.80, which makes one 1 Kg of bananas worth only 0.54 USD.

Conflicts, armed groups and unstable regimes are still present in this fragile zone. State-capture and policy capture often determine the patterns of trade, which influences public expenditures. Good governance still remains key.

 

References

Banana Joe (1982) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_Joe_(film)  (accessed: 20 May 2018)

Blanco-Libreros, Juan F. (2009), Banana crop expansion and increased river-borne sediment exports to the Gulf of Urabá, Caribbean Coast of Colombia, AMBIO: A JOURNAL OF THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 38(3):181-183. HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1579/0044-7447-38.3.181

Fairtrade Foundation (2018), Bananeras de Urabá, Colombia https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/farmers-and-workers/bananas/bananeras-de-uraba (accessed: 20 May 2018)

FAO (2017) Banana market review. Preliminary results for 2017. Rome: FAO. http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/est/COMM_MARKETS_MONITORING/Bananas/Documents/Banana_Market_Review_December_2017_update.pdf  (accessed: 20 May 2018)

FAO (2018a), Banana Trade and Markets, Rome: FAO. http://www.fao.org/economic/est/est-commodities/bananas/en/ (accessed: 20 May 2018)

FAO (2018b), Banana Prices, Rome: FAO. http://www.fao.org/economic/est/est-commodities/bananas/banana-prices/en/ (accessed: 20 May 2018)

OECD (2016), Financing Democracy. Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns and the Risk of Policy Capture. OECD Public Governance Reviews. Paris: OECD.

OECD (2017) Preventing Policy Capture. Integrity in Public Decision Making. Paris: OECD.

No AccessSatellite Imagery by  Planet. Planet and RapidEye satellite imagery ©  Planet 2018. https://www.planet.com/
UNIBAN SA Home -page http://www.uniban.com/index.php/es/ (accessed: 20 May 2018)

 

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