A new trade deal set to slash the cost of importing bananas into the EU from Latin America will benefit retailers at the expense of growers, suppliers and consumers, industry sources have claimed.

The deal, which was agreed between the EU and Latin American countries this week, will result in import tariffs on bananas gradually being reduced from the current 176/tonne to 114/tonne by 2017.

It was hailed by the EU as a victory for stakeholders at both ends of the supply chain. "Today is a very good day for banana producers worldwide and for consumers," said European Trade Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

However, industry sources claimed the move was unlikely to benefit consumers or mean more money for producers.

"Producers are thinking with this duty reduction they might get a higher price but supermarkets are looking to take it away," said one industry source. "My worry is that supermarkets will expect to benefit from the reduction and that the growers will expect to benefit from the reduction. That's an equation that doesn't work."

The deal comes as retailers start negotiating supply contracts for next year.

There was a danger that they may use the news in order to seek cuts in prices as the tariffs are reduced, warned a second source.

"Retailers will be looking for their pound of flesh off the back of this agreement," he said.

In 2008, EU consumers purchased more than 5.4 million tonnes of bananas, 72.5% of which were imported from Latin American countries.