The Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, His Excellency, Daniel Kablan Duncan, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, and Organisation des Producteurs Exportateurs de Bananes, d’Ananas, de Mangues et d’Autre Fruits d’Exportation de Côte d’Ivoire (OBAM-CI, Organisation of Producers and Exporters of Bananas, Pineapples, Mangoes, and Other Export Fruit in Côte d’Ivoire) have launched an ambitious project to cultivate dessert bananas for export in the Bandama region of northern Côte d’Ivoire. This project, involving 500 hectares of land along the Bandama River, in and around the village of Nabedjakaha, seeks to transform northern Côte d’Ivoire into a significant producer of dessert bananas for export.
The pilot phase of the Bandama banana project, involving 50 hectares of land cultivated by OBAM-CI, through its principal member, owner and operator, La Société de Culture Bananière (SCB, Society for Banana Culture) has demonstrated that this region of northern Côte d’Ivoire can produce abundant, export-quality bananas. The project promises to re-invigorate this rural region’s economy by creating sustainable livelihoods for its inhabitants.
When complete, OBAM-CI expects the Bandama banana project to involve a total investment of US$98 million and create permanent employment for 700 rural people. The economic growth and development created by the Bandama banana cultivation project is expected to have a positive impact on the livelihoods of an additional 4,000 people in surrounding rural communities.
The Bandama banana project will ultimately involve 500 hectares of banana plantations and is expected to produce 21,000 tonnes of dessert bananas by 2019. It will be accompanied by social projects providing schools, clinics, and housing for local communities.
Côte d’Ivoire’s Banana Industry
Côte d’Ivoire, already Africa’s largest banana exporter, shipped 339,000 tonnes of bananas in 2012. However, the nation aims to significantly increase its exports of bananas and tropical fruit over the coming years as part of an ambitious export diversification strategy.
This strategy is already producing tangible results, with a 6% increase in banana production in 2012 alone. Today, 75% of Côte d’Ivoire’s bananas are ISO4001 certified, according to the European Union, which is supporting Côte d’Ivoire’s ambition to achieve 100% certification by 2019 and use banana production to help alleviate rural poverty.