CCP: 2001/2 (CCP: BA/TF 99/17)


 

COMMITTEE ON COMMODITY PROBLEMS

Sixty-third Session

REPORT OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE
INTERGOVERNMENTAL GROUP ON BANANAS
AND ON TROPICAL FRUITS
(Gold Coast, Australia, 4-8 May 1999)

Table of Contents


APPENDIX C - LIST OF DOCUMENTS

 


 

I. INTRODUCTION

1. The Intergovernmental Group on Bananas and on Tropical Fruits held its First Session from 4-8 May 1999 at the Gold Coast, Australia. It was attended by the following Members: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, European Community, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Netherlands, Panama, Philippines, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom. In addition, observers from the following organizations attended: the International Trade Centre (ITC UNCTAD/WTO), the World Bank, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), the Confederation of Importers and Marketing Organizations in Europe of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (CIMO), the European Community Banana Trade Association (ECBTA), the European Union of the Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale, Import and Export Trade (EUCOFEL) and the International Network for the Improvement of Bananas and Plantains (INIBAP). A list of participants was distributed as document CCP: BA/TF 99/Inf.3.

2. The Group was welcomed on behalf of the Government of Australia by Mr M. Macnamara, Assistant Secretary, Agricultural Industries Division, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, who referred to the importance of the horticultural sector in Australia and particularly to the significance of the banana and tropical fruit industries.

3. The statement of the Director-General, Mr Jacques Diouf, was delivered on his behalf by Ms Paola Fortucci, Chief, Raw Materials, Tropical and Horticultural Products Service of the Commodities and Trade Division who expressed appreciation to the Government of Australia and to the Australian Banana Growers' Council for hosting the Session.

4. The Group elected Mr M. Macnamara (Australia) as Chairperson, Mr Victor Herrera (Costa Rica) as First Vice-Chairperson and Mr Thomas Ndive Mokake (Cameroon) as Second Vice-Chairperson.

5. The Group adopted the Provisional Agenda, CCP: BA/TF 99/1 while noting that Items II and III would be dealt with specifically by the Sub-Groups on Bananas and on Tropical Fruits, respectively.

6. Delegates expressed their appreciation to the Government of Australia and to the Australian Banana Growers' Council for the excellent facilities and warm hospitality provided which had ensured the success of the Session.

II. TERMS OF REFERENCE AND RULES OF PROCEDURE

7. The Session adopted its Rules of Procedure as given in document CCP: BA/TF 99/2 and pointed out that its Terms of Reference, appended to this document, needed to be corrected to include the amendments made by its parent body, the Committee on Commodity Problems. It requested that the correct Terms of Reference and the approved Rules of Procedure be provided to the next session of the Group.

8. The Group adopted the Reports of the Sub-Groups on Bananas and on Tropical Fruits, attached as Appendices A and B.

III. DATE AND PLACE OF THE SECOND SESSION

9. The Group was informed of the interest of the Governments of Panama and Costa Rica to host its Second Session. The Group expressed its gratitude for this expression of interest. It agreed that its Second Session would take place within the next two years, the exact date and venue to be decided by the Director-General of FAO in consultation with the Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Group.

 


APPENDIX A

SUB-GROUP ON BANANAS

First Session

REPORT

 

I. INTRODUCTION

1. The First Session of the Sub-Group on Bananas (Gold Coast, Australia) opened on 4 May1999 and concluded on 7 May 1999.

2. The Sub-Group elected Mr M. Macnamara (Australia) as Chairperson, Mr F.A. Delgado (Spain) as First Vice-Chairperson and Mrs Cynthia Mayer (Ecuador) as Second Vice-Chairperson.

3. The Sub-Group adopted Item II of the Provisional Agenda, CCP: BA/TF 99/1.

II. ECONOMIC AND TRADE ISSUES

A. CURRENT MARKET SITUATION AND SHORT-TERM OUTLOOK

4. The Group considered this item with the assistance of Secretariat document CCP: BA/TF 99/3 and CCP: BA/TF 99/3(Rev.). During the review of the data, some delegations of the Sub-Group requested that the Secretariat seek to provide information on trends in overall consumption in major importing countries, including member states of the EC, rather than utilizing data based on imports only, taking into account production and re-exports. It noted that numerous difficulties existed in obtaining such data, and recommended that members cooperate fully with the Secretariat in developing such information which might be derived from various sources.

B. RECENT MARKET DEVELOPMENTS IN EMERGING MARKETS

5. In accordance with the priority attached by the Sub-Group to the identification of opportunities in new markets to enhance international trade in bananas, the Sub-Group reviewed developments in the Russian Federation with the assistance of document CCP: BA/TF 99/4. The Sub-Group requested that the monitoring and analysis work in relation to emerging markets, including the Russian Federation, China and markets in the Near East, continue to be undertaken by the Secretariat.

C. MEDIUM-TERM PROJECTIONS FOR SUPPLY AND DEMAND TO 2005

6. The Sub-Group expressed its appreciation to the Secretariat for its work on medium-term supply and demand projections to 2005. It endorsed the continuation of such analysis which contributed to the understanding of market forces. With a view to greater transparency and reliability of the projections, some delegations expressed particular interest in the specifications of the mathematical model and base-line information utilised by the Secretariat to arrive at its projections to 2005. The Secretariat agreed to make details of the model available upon request.

7. The Sub-Group requested that the Secretariat update its projections to incorporate any changes in importing policies subsequent to those taken into account in the projections presented to the Sub-Group. Some delegations also requested that further work be undertaken in cataloguing the various policies and regulations around the world that protected banana producers from changes in world market prices, as well as those that restricted market access. Noting the complexity of this task, the Secretariat requested the members of the Sub-Group to cooperate fully in this exercise.

D. IMPACT OF CHANGES IN EXPORT PRICES OF BANANAS ON
INCOME, EMPLOYMENT AND FOOD SECURITY

8. The Sub-Group recognised the importance of banana exports to food security both from the point of view of earnings and employment as well as nutritional considerations. It recommended that within available resources, the Secretariat carry out further analysis of this subject, possibly through household surveys in banana producing and exporting countries. The importance of the element of sustainability to achieve long-term food security, including environmental aspects, was highlighted and the Secretariat was requested to study this relationship more in depth. The Sub-Group suggested that in undertaking further studies on banana exports and food security, case studies should be undertaken in countries of various regions, particularly Africa, as well as for countries which do not enjoy tariff and market access advantages in relation to other suppliers in major markets.

9. In view of the great importance of plantain production and trade to the food security situation in many developing countries, the Sub-Group agreed that the work outlined in the previous paragraph should also encompass plantains, as had been suggested at the Committee on Commodity Problems during its last session.

10. The Sub-Group took note of the interest in some countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to undertake a diagnostic survey of the environmental and employment sustainability of banana cultivation in their countries with a view to developing appropriate policy and programme actions. The Sub-Group requested the Secretariat to provide support to these efforts, and to assist in seeking resources for this purpose.

E. MARKET FOR ORGANIC AND "FAIR-TRADE" BANANAS

11. The Sub-Group was assisted in its consideration of this item by document CCP: BA/TF 99/7. With regard to "fair-trade" bananas there was some concern over the need to harmonize the criteria employed, as well as with the compatibility of the "fair-trade" concept and World Trade Organization rules. Equitable production, transport and consumption linkages were considered to be important components of a "fair-trade" regime.

12. The Sub-Group was informed by a representative of the Rain Forest Alliance, a non-governmental organization, of its work with farmers in Latin America and the overall principles guiding its work. The Sub-Group also heard from a representative of the Natural Resources Institute, who stated that apart from fair-trade, the Sub-Group should consider the currently evolving approach of "ethical trading".

13. The Sub-Group agreed that efforts should be made to further define the concept of "fair-trade" and to harmonize the approaches adopted by "fair-trade" organizations in Europe and those of other organizations working in this field. It recommended that an ad hoc meeting of experts on "fair-trade" be convened for this purpose under the auspices of FAO, within available resources and/or drawing on extra-budgetary funds, with the understanding that one of the objectives of this ad hoc meeting should be to define the concept in such a way that it does not contravene the norms and principles of the World Trade Organization to avoid that it becomes a non-tariff barrier. The EC informed the Sub-Group that it was preparing a paper on fair-trade, which would be available in the near future.

14. The Sub-Group expressed its appreciation for the work on organic bananas and requested that the Secretariat continue its efforts to monitor and analyze market developments in this area. Attention was drawn to the need for capacity building in organic certification in developing countries in order to ensure that all producing countries are able to comply with similar standards. The Sub-Group was informed by INIBAP of its plan to organize a workshop on organic banana production and marketing in November 1999, bringing together representatives of all stakeholders in order to study the feasibility of expanding this type of production.

III. INTERGOVERNMENTAL ACTION ON BANANAS

A. REVIEW OF POLICY DEVELOPMENTS

15. The Sub-Group reviewed the main changes in policies affecting the world banana market that had taken place since its last session up until January 1999 when document CCP: BA/TF 99/8 had been completed. While considering this document, the Group agreed to reformulate the last sentence of paragraph 4 to read: "The changes included in these regulations were aimed, according to the EC, at ensuring both the EC's commitments to Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries under the Lomé Convention and those to the WTO."

16. Some delegates provided updated and general banana policy information regarding their respective countries. The delegate of the EC informed the Sub-Group that the EC was currently considering the reports of the WTO arbitrators and panel in relation to the EC banana import regime. The Sub-Group requested the Secretariat to continue to monitor policy developments, and keep members informed, possibly through the inter-sessional Banana Information Notes issued under its auspices.

B. REPORT ON COMMON FUND ACTIVITIES
RELATING TO BANANAS

17. In its role as the International Commodity Body for bananas, the Sub-Group received a final report on the CFC-funded Banana Improvement Project (BIP) in document CCP: BA/TF 99/91. Additional presentations were given by the representative of the World Bank, and on specific projects in the BIP portfolio by Dr Natalie Moore of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Dr James Dale of the Queensland University of Technology.

18. The Sub-Group agreed that the BIP had concluded with major contributions to banana improvement. While the initial objectives of the project had not been fully achieved, the BIP had achieved strategic and immediate results which had significantly advanced the prospect of producing disease resistant varieties. The need to be aware of consumer concerns about genetically modified foods was recognized.

19. The Sub-Group stressed that the FAO should ensure that the results of the BIP are disseminated as widely as possible to members of the Intergovernmental Group and re-affirmed that the intellectual property developed through the project was freely available to FAO member countries. The Sub-Group requested the World Bank to compile a bibliography of the research results published as a result of the BIP with a view to its dissemination through the Sub-Group, the CFC and other available channels.

20. The Sub-Group endorsed both projects proposed for submission to the CFC in CCP: BA/TF 99/9. These were the proposal submitted by INIBAP for Farmer-participatory evaluation and dissemination for improved musa germplasm and that submitted by Guinea for a project on banana rehabilitation.

21. The Sub-Group noted that the project on Farmer-participatory evaluation and dissemination for improved musa germplasm is to be undertaken in Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, Uganda, Ecuador and Ethiopia. FAO technical services will review and advise INIBAP on the project, and the FAO will work closely with the countries concerned.

22. It was noted that the Banana rehabilitation project in Guinea is an important demonstration project open to emulation in other countries in Africa, and provided an opportunity to work with small growers and the private sector.

23. The CFC representative reported on his organization's approach to loan agreements, based on: a) concessional lending to small scale producers and least developed countries; b) intermediate loans at very concessional rates to other developing countries; and c) ordinary loans, which involve well defined funding for developing countries with a reasonable capacity to repay. He further reported that the CFC was tending to give greater emphasis to loans versus grants, or a combination of loans and grants, based on differential treatment.

24. Referring to specific requests made at various CFC commodity related regional meetings for assistance for diversification projects, the representative of the CFC requested the Sub-Group to take these requests into account in sponsoring projects. In discussing diversification some delegations considered that the need for diversification derived from market liberalization, high production costs and less competitive production. The Sub-Group agreed that these and other proposals could be considered by the inter-sessional mechanism of the Sub-Group, bearing in mind the Sub-Group's strategy for the banana sector.

 


APPENDIX B

SUB-GROUP ON TROPICAL FRUITS

Second Session

REPORT

 

I. INTRODUCTION

1. The Second Session of the Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits (Gold Coast, Australia) opened on 5 May 1999 and concluded on 8 May 1999.

2. The Sub-Group elected Mr H.R. Streichert (Germany) as Chairperson, Mr A.A. Vangah (Côte d'Ivoire) as First Vice-Chairperson and Mr F. Hentze (Guatemala) as Second Vice-Chairperson.

3. The Sub-Group adopted Item III of the Provisional Agenda, CCP: BA/TF 99/1.

II. ECONOMIC AND TRADE ISSUES

A. CURRENT MARKET SITUATION

4. The Sub-Group discussed this item with the assistance of an assessment of the current market situation provided by the Secretariat and a statistical compendium, which was tabled as CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.1. Several delegates including the European Community, Ecuador, Malaysia and Thailand provided further information and clarification on production, trade and consumption pertaining to their countries in order to update the data available to the Sub-Group. The Sub-Group recognized the need for expanding demand in international markets. It was suggested that production should be better organized and post-harvest and processing technologies improved. In addition, there was a need for more promotion as well as a better understanding of the requirements of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures in target markets. On statistical issues, it was requested that consumption data be provided by country and by product in order to facilitate analysis of the factors affecting market growth. In addition, information on domestic consumption in producing countries could foster a better understanding of the contribution of tropical fruits to food security and poverty alleviation. However, in order to obtain such information, the Sub-Group recognized that the response to its annual questionnaire needed to be improved. Hence, it recommended that members should make greater efforts in responding to the questionnaire, and that the Secretariat should also contact trade associations to seek to broaden the database for tropical fruits. Some delegations requested that more complete data be provided for tropical fruits other than pineapples, mangoes, avocados and papayas.

B. MARKET PROSPECTS FOR TROPICAL FRUITS IN CHINA

5. This item was considered by the Sub-Group with the assistance of document CCP: BA/TF 99/11. The Sub-Group considered that the study of emerging markets such as China was essential in investigating the potential for expanding international trade of tropical fruits, and recommended that future studies by the Secretariat should extend to selected markets of Eastern Europe and the former USSR, Scandinavia, as well as India. It was also suggested that an analysis of the implications of China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for international tropical fruit trade should be conducted.

C. TRADE POLICY DEVELOPMENTS

6. The Sub-Group reviewed policy developments with the assistance of documents CCP: BA/TF 99/12 and CCP: BA/TF 99/13. It agreed that the implementation of SPS measures was the major policy area of significance to international trade of fresh tropical fruits, and that one of the major potential obstacles to fresh tropical fruit trade was the lack of appropriate alternative treatment(s) to methyl bromide. Two presentations were also made by specialists from the Australian delegation on the Australian quarantine standards and the status of its research into alternatives to methyl bromide, and the development of infestation treatment in the country.

7. The delegate from the EC sought clarification on the penultimate sentence of paragraph 9 of document CCP: BA/TF 99/12, particularly relating to the tropical fruit industries in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. He was informed that the word "tropical" would be deleted from the sentence. Furthermore, he requested that the last sentence of paragraph 9 also be amended to read as follows: "Both Canada and Japan appeared to have slightly less stringent requirements and the EC appeared to have relatively easy access, although there were areas in the EC where tropical fruit production was of economic importance and where certain restrictions were applied for reason of pest control." New notifications from Australia, the EC and New Zealand were tabled as CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.11.

8. In regard to alternative treatments to replace methyl bromide for fresh fruit exports, the Sub-Group noted the growing concern expressed by delegates from several countries and agreed that a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis be conducted of alternative treatments for tropical fruits which were both effective and environmentally sound.

9. The Sub-Group recommended that a brief be prepared on the scope of such a study, specifically for tropical fruits. It constituted an informal working group to assist the Secretariat in this task. The Informal Working Group (IWG) comprised representatives of the following institutions:

10. The IWG appointed Australia as coordinator of the IWG, responsible for preparing a draft of the brief. The brief would be circulated by electronic mail to cooperating institutions for comment following which the Secretariat would implement the study in collaboration with concerned national institutions.

III. INTERGOVERNMENTAL ACTION ON TROPICAL FRUITS

A. TROPICAL FRUITS NETWORK (TFNET)

11. The Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits was informed that the Informal Working Group (IWG) on the International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNET) convened its second session on 4-5 May 1999. During this Session, the IWG, comprising 16 countries, under the chairmanship of Mr G. Bosma (the Netherlands), decided that:

12. The report of the Informal Working Group was tabled for information as document CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.17.

B. COMMON FUND ACTIVITIES RELATING TO TROPICAL FRUITS

13. The Sub-Group discussed this item with the assistance of CCP: BA/TF 99/14. In view of their importance for food security, employment, and export earnings, the Sub-Group agreed to adopt the following orphan commodities: cashew nuts, cut flowers, essential oils, medicinal herbs and spices. In agreeing to act as the International Commodity Body (ICB) for these items for the purpose of allowing commodity development work to be undertaken in accordance with CFC procedures, the Sub-Group stressed that proposers of projects would need to provide proposals with full information on relevant global market conditions and issues in order to allow the Sub-Group to fulfil its role in evaluating and endorsing proposals. The Sub-Group recalled the availability of its inter-sessional mechanism for consideration and submission of proposals to the CFC in the period between sessions. In the case of the proposals relative to the "orphan" commodities, the Sub-Group took note of the appeal of some delegates for speedy action as these proposals had been long awaiting international consideration. Therefore, the Sub-Group agreed that such proposals could be submitted through the existing inter-sessional mechanism. However, such proposals would also be sent, in the language version in which they were prepared, to members of the Sub-Group for information.

14. Two project proposals were submitted to the Sub-Group for its review, African Fruit Fly Initiative (Appendix CCP: BA/TF 99/14) and Commercialising and Substantially Expanding the Production, Processing and Marketing of Dried Tropical Fruits (and Vegetables) from countries in Africa (CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.10). The Sub-Group agreed to sponsor the African Fruit Fly Initiative project and recommended that the proposal place more emphasis on the testing, adaptation and validation of the available technologies, which were distinctly separated from the research part of the fruit fly programme of ICIPE. The possibility of developing high-quality export mangoes in a pilot scale should be incorporated.

15. The Sub- Group took note of CFC's requirement that such a project should focus on member countries of the CFC. If other countries' institutions were to be involved in the project, co-financing should be found for financing activities corresponding to their involvement.

16. As for the other project, the Sub-Group agreed that the objectives of "adding-value", improving post-harvest technology and reducing waste were desirable for tropical fruits. However, it noted the comments from the CFC and suggested that if the proposal were to be re-submitted for the Sub-Group's consideration it should be redesigned by the sponsors in cooperation with the CFC, taking into account that organization's funding criteria.

IV. ACTION IN OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

17. The Sub-Group was informed of the recently-established Internet sites (www.fresh-marketplace.com and www.marketag.com) established by the International Trade Centre (ITC) UNCTAD/WTO which provided an interactive matchmaking tool for exporters and importers of fruits and vegetables world-wide. The representative of ITC reported that the web sites were freely accessible for developing countries and economies in transition. ITC proposed that export promotion agencies in these countries take an active part in establishing insertion and update services for exporters who do not themselves have Internet access. ITC expressed willingness to examine proposals for further development in these areas.

18. The Sub-Group expressed appreciation for the report from ITC, and also for the publication provided by the UN Conference on Trade and Development on "International Market Access Information - Horticulture Sector."

19. The representative of EUCOFEL informed the Sub-Group of recent international trade policy developments affecting fresh fruit and vegetables in Europe including those relating to current tariff levels, pesticide residues, genetically modified organisms and hygiene. He stressed that developments concerning fruit safety would be particularly important for tropical fruits imported from third countries.

 


APPENDIX C

LIST OF DOCUMENTS

 

CCP: BA/TF 99/1 Provisional Agenda
CCP: BA/TF 99/2 Rules of Procedure of the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas and on Tropical Fruits
CCP: BA/TF 99/3 Banana statistics
CCP: BA/TF 99/4 Russian banana market in 1994-1998
CCP: BA/TF 99/5 Projections for supply and demand of bananas to 2005
CCP: BA/TF 99/6 The impact of banana supply and demand changes on income, employment and food security
CCP: BA/TF 99/7 The market for "organic" and "fair-trade" bananas
CCP: BA/TF 99/8 Review of policy developments affecting banana trade
CCP: BA/TF 99/9 Report on Common Fund activities related to bananas
CCP: BA/TF 99/10 Extract from the Report of the Sixty-second Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems (Rome, 12-15 January 1999)
CCP: BA/TF 99/11 Market for tropical fruits in China
CCP: BA/TF 99/12 Regulatory framework for international trade in tropical fruit
CCP: BA/TF 99/13 Alternative phytosanitary treatments to methyl bromide for tropical fruit exports
CCP: BA/TF 99/14 Common Fund activities relating to tropical fruits
CCP: BA/TF 99/15 A statement of priorities of the Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits
CCP: BA/TF 99/16 Strategy for improvement and development of bananas for the Common Fund for Commodities
 

Information documents

CCP: BA/TF 99/Inf.1 Information note on arrangements
CCP: BA/TF 99/Inf.2 Statement of competence and voting rights submitted by the European Community (EC) and its Member States
CCP: BA/TF 99/Inf.3 List of delegates and observers
 

Conference Room Series

CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.1 Tropical fruits statistics
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.2 CFC/FAO/World Bank Banana Improvement Project (BIP) - Final Report of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.3 Draft constitution of the Tropical Fruit Network (TFNET)
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.4 Russian banana market in 1994-1998 (Tables)
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.5 The certification of organic banana production and export
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.6 Criteria set by the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International for fair- trade bananas
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.7 Tropical and sub-tropical fruit market in China
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.8 Farmer-participatory evaluation and dissemination of improved Musa germplasm
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.9 Policy developments in Australia
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.10 Project profiles for submission by the Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits to the Common Fund for Commodities
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.11 Import regulations of selected markets for tropical fruits
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.12 Guinea: Banana rehabilitation project
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.13 Banana - The industry, research and development activities in Malaysia
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.14 Presentation of EUCOFEL
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.15 Australian quarantine standards and stand on alternatives to methyl bromide
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.16 Development of disinfestation treatment
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.17 Report of the Second Session of the Informal Working Group on the Establishment of International Tropical Fruit Network
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.18 Presentation by CFC
CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.19 Recent developments of the fruit industry in Malaysia

___________________________________

1 A report of the Sub-Group's Technical Advisory Committee on the BIP was tabled for information as CCP: BA/TF 99/CRS.2.