" We are experiencing a revolution in the history of the world banana ," said Eric de Lucy, president of the Union of Banana Producers Groups of Guadeloupe and Martinique (UGPBAN), during a press briefing at the trade fair. Agriculture, in Paris. After 20 years of research with the Center for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD), the representatives of the UGPBAN presented the first 100% organic banana in the world ... and three-color. Produced in the West Indies - in Guadeloupe and Martinique - and baptized " Pointe d'or ", it will be marketed initially in Île-de-France next week in Carrefour stores.
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Certainly, on supermarket shelves, the French already find bananas - one of their favorite fruit - called organic. Three cumulative criteria grant the de facto designation: no pesticides or synthetic herbicides, no synthetic fertilizers or sewage sludge and finally, no seeds from GMOs. In France, a major part of organic bananas come from countries outside Europe (South America, Dominican Republic, Africa). " These countries use 25 phytosanitary products, including by aerial treatment, 14 of which are not authorized in Europe ", protested Eric de Lucy in 2017, in the journal Ouest-France . The “Pointe d'or” is intended as a response to these so-called extra-community bananas, for example from Brazil or the Dominican Republic, which obtain “organic equivalents” by entering the European market when they “ are not standards of a European organic product ”, according to Eric de Lucy. Organic bananas ... not as organic as that then.
The "Pointe d'or", it would meet all the criteria of perfectly organic bananas, " unique in the world ", according to representatives of the UGPBAN. What more does it have? Produced without any pesticide treatment, this new variety resulting from "a natural crossing of old varieties of bananas" is resistant to Sigatoka, the bane of farmers and the first banana disease (the entire production of bananas sold in the world comes from a single variety, Cavendish). Six West Indian producers have embarked on the cultivation of "Pointe d'or", on 35 ha, which should produce around 1,000 tonnes of bananas, out of a total of 200,000, a tiny fraction.
The hypocrisy of organic mentions
For a few years, the French legislator has been chasing hypocrisy because the mention “ organic ”, a guarantee of quality, is no longer enough to guarantee the environmental virtue of the product. Since January 2020, summer fruits and vegetables like organic stamped tomatoes sold in winter can no longer be marketed before May 1. Symbol of organic drifts, these fruits and vegetables are actually grown in heated greenhouses to be sold out of season. Or, an ecological aberration, according to Ademe (Environment and Energy Management Agency) because this mode of cultivation emits " seven times more greenhouse gases " than that of the season. In addition, most of these products do not come from short circuits. However, the transport conditions are not part of the specifications of the "organic label", neither in France nor in Europe, confirms Ademe.
Bringing in the new variety of banana " Pointe d'or ", would significantly shorten the journey compared to South America or Ghana, the main countries from which the bananas marketed by Carrefour currently come, its production being based at around 6,700 km from the metropolis. It remains to be seen how the fruit is transported. "By sea container," says Carrefour. Or the assurance of low consumption per tonne and kilometer traveled, unlike air transport. Verdict: the "Pointe d'or", is the first organic and French banana. However, given the complexity of its production and its cost, it will be sold on average 10% more than other organic bananas.