During the UGPBAN press conference on the 17th of March, the director of UGPBAN, Pierre Monteux, presented his report and the prospects for 2022 for the banana sector of Guadeloupe and Martinique, as well as the carbon balance and the actions organized with the partner group CMA-CGM. It was also an opportunity for journalists to visit the ripening station in Rungis.
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From left to right: Sébastien Thafournel, quality manager, Lina Rénel, technical manager, Pierre Monteux, general manager, Grégory Fourcin, vice-president of CMA-CGM’s Latin American and Oceania lines, and Jacques Gérault, institutional advisor of the CMA-CGM group during the press conference.
With the participation of Sébastien Zanoletti, expert consultant in sustainable development, present in videoconference.
A positive carbon balance for UGPBAN and its partner CMA-CGM
For several years, the banana sector of Guadeloupe and Martinique has been committed to a sustainable approach, especially with the Sustainable Banana Plan launched in 2008. The result? -38% for fertilizers and no more aerial spraying, -75% for pesticides and -14% for greenhouse gas emissions (800g of CO2 per kilo of bananas vs. 900g in 2006). But eventually, the banana sector of Guadeloupe and Martinique wants to lower its footprint even more by further reducing its use of inputs, developing renewable energies (wind power, photovoltaic), and developing agro-forestry.
Through its partnership with the CMA-CGM group, UGPBAN now sees its carbon footprint on maritime transport reduced by 50%. This is especially due to the modernization of the equipment and ships, as well as an investment in new energies such as liquefied natural gas and bio-oil, which reduce emissions by 84%.
A growing production since 2020
With 180,000 tons in 2020 and 198,000 tons in 2021, UGPBAN is hoping to reach 210,000 tons on the French market for 2022 and to continue to grow. “The potential is there in terms of planted areas in Guadeloupe and Martinique,” explains Pierre Monteux. With nearly 550 producers, the number of banana farmers is only declining very slightly due to their age.
2021 was a complicated year but 2022 is starting well
In 2021, the banana of Guadeloupe and Martinique suffered from deflationary trade negotiations that took place at the end of 2020 in an “extremely competitive” environment (Dollar banana from Latin America). Last year, the average European price for bananas reached very low levels: 11.70€ [12.90 USD] for a crate of 18.5kg, compared to 15€ [16.53 USD] in 2016. Same observation for the French market with 640€/ton [705USD/ton] in 2021, compared to 671€/ton [740USD/ton] in 2020 (all categories and destinations combined).
The end of 2021 was marked by an increase in production costs. “The cost of inputs has increased considerably.” Cardboard, plastic, wood, energy… and an extreme rise in production costs.
At the beginning of 2022, the situation was quite favorable, with a rather high demand despite the freight problems and the lack of containers. “During the first weeks of 2022, our volumes were moderate and the market was rather well oriented. But recently, the situation has changed,” explains Pierre Monteux. The soaring price of raw materials and fertilizers is already being felt.
Ukrainian conflict: “we fear a domino effect”
Pierre Monteux also shared his concerns regarding the impact of the Ukrainian conflict on the sector. With 2 million tons per year, Russia and its neighboring countries represent a “considerable consumption market.” “We fear a domino effect. With the closure of the borders and the port of Odessa, the 2 million crates that normally go to Russia every week will have to find other destinations and Europe is an ideal adjustment market.” These bananas should therefore arrive on the European market by mid-April. “They will be sold at ridiculous prices, which will destabilize the market. The price has already gone down by 10% because of the conflict.”
Rungis ripening site
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