(AFRUIBANA) - As we enter the period of contractualization of our commitments for the following year with retailers, we, African producers, wish to draw the attention of stakeholders to the cost increases experienced by the global banana sector and our continent in particular.
First of all, our maritime transport costs, affected by the current sectoral situation, are expected to increase in 2022 by more than 60%. Likewise, under the effects of the increase in the cost of production factors and the slowdown in supply chains, we anticipate an increase in our purchasing costs of around 20 to 25% depending on the product (cardboard boxes, fertilizers, phytosanitary products etc). Moreover, for those of our producers who have not yet reached it, the implementation of the “living wage” of the Global Living Wage Coalition will require additional efforts, despite a methodology not even taking into account the multiple health, education and housing services already offered to our teams. Finally, given the outlook for the global economy and its effects on parities, we expect our operating costs to increase further by 3 to 5%.
However, it should be noted that these cost increases have so far not translated into increases in the price of bananas. On the contrary, the year 2021 will remain as a very difficult year for the market, with the prices of boxes of 18.5 kg even temporarily falling below € 10 according to the CIRAD Observatory. These bottom-low levels themselves come at the end of a long and deep deterioration in the purchase prices that producers have had to cope with on their own year after year.
In this context, we are counting on the commitment of our European retail partners to make the banana value chains ever fairer and resolutely sustainable. Indeed, only fair selling prices can allow a fair distribution of the value between the actors of our chain. These fair prices are also key to initiating the essential investments of the ecological and energy transition of our sector during this decade.
Everyone in our chain, from producer to end-buyer and consumer, must "do their part" and contribute to the positive development of our sector. It is in this state of mind that we wish to prepare for the coming year with our partners in the retailing sector and, with them, ensure that, in 2022 and beyond, the chain that connects our 30,000 employees to million European consumers is always fairer and resolutely sustainable.