During the first phase of their partnership with WWF France, Compagnie Fruitière deployed a project in West Africa to reduce the use of phytosanitary products and it increased the volumes of organic bananas by 1 to 6%. WWF France also helped the company develop a roadmap to go from 7% to 20% of certified bananas in organic farming as of 2025. In order to continue making such progress and implementing these objectives, the two players have committed to a new cooperation of three years.
Today, the banana is one of the most consumed fruits in the world. However, as already pointed out by FAO in 2017, the production sector is subject to significant risks: the rapid development of resistance to treatment due to low genetic diversity in intensive plantations, as well as the strong environmental impact that this type of farming can have on soils, forests, air, water and biodiversity.
Together with Compagnie Fruitière, WWF France wants to support the transformation of this production system by applying certain principles from agroecology and organic agriculture while continuing to implement fair social certifications. This transition implies the reduction of the use of phytosanitary products and the complexification of cropping systems to maintain and protect the soils.
“With an annual consumption of 10 kilos per inhabitant, the banana is the second most consumed fruit in France. However, FAO warns us about the strong pressure from the production sector on the environment. That is why, with Compagnie Fruitière, we experiment new innovative practices, more mindful of soil protection, biodiversity and water. Together, we have elaborated an ambitious roadmap for 2025, aiming for 20% of certified bananas in organic agriculture. Renewing this partnership will allow us to help implement these practices and reach the defined objectives.”
In collaboration with CIRAD experts and with the support of WWF France, Compagnie Fruitière created, in 2017, in three banana production branches of West Africa, a diagnosis to identify the constraints to implementing the “4x without” project on site. The objective of the project: gradually eliminating herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and nematicides wherever conditions are considered favorable.
The experiment aims to replace herbicides with cover plants, using trapping by pheromones, among other things, to avoid insecticides and practicing fallow to avoid nematicides. This project to improve agricultural practices is underway in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Cameroon in order to reduce and eventually stop, wherever possible, the use of phytosanitary products for production in Africa, South America and the Caribbean.
The results are positive, with a 2% reduction of the amount of active ingredients in 2018 vs. 2017. Besides the elimination of phytosanitary products, synergies are developing and the benefits are numerous. The new practices of plot management allow for better water infiltration and retention, while the cover plants enrich the soil. Additionally, the fewer treatments and the development of cover plants has an effect on biodiversity and helps bring back insects, birds and small mammals.
Thanks to this investment, Compagnie Fruitière could stop the systematic use of phytosanitary products in Ghana as of 2050, with half the production in organic agriculture and the other half in 4x without.
Paul Bouzon, CSR manager at Compagnie Fruitière: “Continuing this partnership with WWF France reflects the commitment of the Compagnie Fruitière group to develop new agricultural practices more respectful of the environment, both in conventional and organic agriculture with the help of external experts. However, implementing these more sustainable and innovative practices represents a long and costly investment, which could be difficult to perpetuate in the very competitive and deflationary context of the European banana market.”