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Agriculture: the success of Pacific bananas - 21/08/2049

Dernière mise à jour : 3 déc. 2019

For a long time, the insularity of our economy, and of all the economies of the Pacific Islands, has been seen as a disadvantage: too far, too small, too fragile ...

And for a long time these inconveniences were real.

But with the evolution of the global economy and the major climate and societal trends of the end of the first half of the 21st century, economic insularity has become a major asset that has been well negotiated at the regional level.

Indeed, with the increasing consequences of climate change, the agricultural industries of the big states have become less productive, more sensitive to natural events.

By its positioning close to the equator, the Pacific Islands, for the most part, have suffered less climate variability than temperate climates have known. The extremes, in the Pacific, we know them and we learn to live with them for much longer than these temperate systems which turn out to be finally very fragile.

With this, and the globalization of trade, the agricultural productions of the big states found themselves facing more animal and vegetable pests than never before. Since then, their productions have been quickly devastated, reminding almost the sci-fi scenarios of the years 2010 (Interstellar…).

For example, in 2020, South American banana production was devastated by "Panama disease" (Fusarium oxysporum sp.). World production has fallen and the banana demand, which is still important in Europe and the United States, has risen sharply, making this common fruit almost a luxury commodity.

And it is in crisis situations that opportunities are found and Pacific farmers have been able to respond to them!

In fact, several farmers in Tahiti and Nouméa decided to join forces in 2028 to pool their banana production and thus be able to have a greater commercial force in the receiving markets.

A few years later, they were joined by producers in Fiji (who migrated sugar cane to the banana relatively quickly, thanks to the rapid growth of the plant in the tropics) and Vanuatu who joined their efforts in a production cooperative and a producers' union managing the entire export chain.

Although previously hampered by the cost of transport, Pacific banana production has become competitive with soaring prices for South American and Caribbean bananas becoming scarce and therefore expensive.

Once the export channels were created, it was easier to secure the market, especially given the fact that the central position of the Pacific Islands in this area became the heart of global geopolitical movements (notably because of the US-China reports ) has been an obvious boon for our economies.

Or when the Pacific finally manages to make its "constraints" possible real opportunities!

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