WE LOVE GREEN BANANAS
DEVELOPING TOOLS TO HELP THE BANANA PRODUCTION PROCESS BECOME GREENER
Bananas are not grown in climate-controlled glasshouses but on plantations that are open and vulnerable to the elements. Our small producers in Latin America and the Caribbean frequently suffer the effects of climate events. From floods and hurricanes to relentless drought: climate change is a reality. In the spring of 2017 for example, large-scale flooding occurred in the banana region in Peru due to a strong Niño event with heavy rainfall. The extreme humidity had a negative effect on banana quality during this period.
In the Paris Climate Agreement, the participating countries agreed to make an effort to allow the global average temperature to rise by less than 2˚C (compared to pre-industrial levels) in order to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. This is where the banana sector should take a stand.
There are a number of things that the sector can do to move towards a more climate-smart production and trade of bananas. Greenhouse gas-emission in the chain can be reduced, better soil management and the re-planting of trees on banana farms (reforestation) can help to bring in and bind carbon from the atmosphere (carbon sequestration). Other emissions, like for example those produced during sea transport, can be compensated for through the use of several systems such as “carbon credits”.
FROM FLOODS AND HURRICANES TO RELENTLESS DROUGHT:
CLIMATE CHANGE IS A REALITY.
A first step could be the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions produced in the chain. Several tools exist to do this, but they are not very well suited for the bananasector. AgroFair has assisted in the development of two important tools to help the banana trade. With AgroFair’s active involvement, the small Costa Rican company Gestarse developed a user-friendly tool for the World Banana Forum. The development was co-financed by German GIZ. This tool calculates greenhouse gas emissions directly on location, right at the banana farm. Once the level and main hotspots of emissions are known, it is easier to take precautions to reduce or compensate emissions. The tool was recently tested in Costa Rica and will become available later this year, together with training opportunities for professionals and technicians for its use. Another tool was developed over the past year in cooperation with research and consultant agency CE Delft. This tool calculates CO2-emissions for our specific tradelanes in the course of the shipping of our bananas. Both tools will help Agrofair to actively monitor greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain in 2018, so that step by step we get closer to the introduction of a truly climatesmart banana.