Covid-19: African banana producers mobilize to continue supply while guaranteeing the health of their employees

In the context of the global health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, African banana companies, through the Afruibana association – which brings together several producers and exporters from Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Ghana, three countries that produced just over 600,000 tonnes of bananas in 2018 – have mobilized to rigorously implement all the instructions issued by the governments of producing countries. For the sector, the priority is twofold: to ensure a continuous supply of quality bananas to distribution centres (nearly 90% of African banana production is destined for the European market), and to guarantee the health safety of workers. To date, no cases of disease have been recorded, and whether in the banana plantations, packing stations or the various African port sites, the technical teams scrupulously apply the hygiene instructions. Particular attention is paid to transporters, pilots and mechanics, who are essential to the smooth running of operations. The sector is organised to limit as much as possible the risk of impact on its logistics chains, to prevent additional costs or longer delivery times. All strategic stocks (cardboard boxes, packaging and phytosanitary products) have been increased to offset any possible shortages in the coming weeks. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) has announced that the free movement of goods and commodities will be maintained during the epidemic. To date, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) considers that there is no evidence that food is a route or source of transmission of the disease.