Canarian bananas gain Origins of Spain protection
Bananas grown on the subtropical Canary Islands have been integrated into the Spanish Association of Appellations of Origin.
The Association of Banana Producers of the Canaries, ASPROCAN, is celebrating after the brand name Plátano de Canarias was incorporated into the prestigious association last week. This means the Canary Islands is the only European banana producer to be awarded the quality seal.
The association says it will act as major support for the industry and generally strengthen the banana’s overall identity.
Speaking with www.freshfruitportal.com, Plátano de Canarias marketing manager Sergio Caceres, said the company was extremely proud to have been included in Origins Spain officially from Feb. 14, 2014.
"We are of course very pleased and what this means in terms of Plátano de Canarias as a brand name being protected against fraud and general misuse," Caceres said.
"We became the first banana to be part of the Origins of Spain category and that makes it even better and for that we are very proud.
"What we are doing now is to continue to raise public awareness about the excellent Canarian bananas through a series of promotions and co-ordinated activities."
The aim of Origin España is to protect specific products through Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs) and Directions Protected Geographical (IGPs) certification. It has awarded the status to around 40 such products since it was established in 2008.
For Plátano de Canarias, the label covers the Cavendish variety that is grown by around 9,000 farmers throughout the Canary Islands in acres of banana plantations that form part of the landscape on the volcanic island of Tenerife, neighboring La Palma and to a much lesser extent, La Gomera.
Much of these plantations are about 500 meters above sea level, conditions that lead to the Canarian bananas having a very distinctive flavor, ripeness and aroma that sets them apart from other fruits.
The main difference, said ASPROCAN, was that the Canarian banana had a higher degree of maturity and permanence because of subtropical conditions, as well as higher potassium levels and higher moisture content which enriched the taste.
"We have a very large network of farmers producing Canarian bananas with an average production of 375,000 metric tons (MT) per year. Our main market is mainland Spain which accounts for 94% of our total market share. Much smaller amounts are also exported to the U.K," Caceres added.
Historically, Canary Island banana producers have struggled to compete with much cheaper imports from other tropical countries but with the new Origins of Spain protection, ASPROCAN is hoping this will change.
The Spanish Government recently announced a grant of US$95.7 million would be given to banana producers through the Canary Agricultural Production Community Support Program (POSEI).
Photo: Ana Iacob Photography