Banana and other fruit producers from Cameroon,Ghana and Ivory Coast, have called for urgent bailouts from their governments to enable them fight what they say is unfair in competition they face from intenational giants.
After presenting the problems to the government of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, yesterday june 30th, was the turn for them to lay their petition to Cameroonian authorities. They therefore where granted audiences by Minister of Agiculture and Rural Development Gabriel Mbairobe Mbaraga and Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute.
On July 1st, the delegation that includes George Kporye, the Corpoarate Affairs and Administration Manager for Golden Exotics limited of Ghana, Jean Francois Billot, representing Afruibana of Cote d’Ivoire, accomoanied by their Cameroonian counterparts, visited and presented their challenges to the European Union Office in Yaounde.
The latter expalins the contraints of African banana producers include lack of money to pay the minimum wage to their workers as required by international law. Their inability to meet standards of noperations as prescribed under the global Green Deal agreement,meet the requirements of equitable pay for work done as prescribed by Fair Trade advocates,among other unfair practices.
According to George Kporye, the delegation leader from Ghana who spoke to journalists explains Fair Trade Organisation producers in rival countries like Ecuador,Colombia,Costa Rica among other latinAmerican producers receive subsidies from their governments and pay salaries very near to what Green Deal and Fair Trade promoter want.
In which case, the minimum wage these international bodies want plantation workers to be paid i 130,000 FCFA wheras, many African producers pay this category of employees as low as 30,000 fcfa.
Attempts to raise salaries to meet the requirements of these bodies Kporye said could see African producers increasing salaries by between 34 to 130 percent,as per current wages being paid by individual producers in the continent.
Such astronomical increases in wages he said, they are unable to afford, reason why they are calling on their governments to bail them out before the banana sector is destroyed.
The Minister or Trade Luc Margloire Atangana proposes their petition be examined on a judicial point of view and call for a possible dialogue with the various parties.
African producers pleaded with government actors to act swiftly, warning that if the situation is not brought under control, as soon as possible, it is not only banana producers who stand the risk of going out of business. This includes other fruits value chain which includes scores of big time distributors,who just like banana producers employ thousands of Africans low skilled and and unskilled workers.