The Association of Ecuadorian Banana Exporters (AEBE) is preparing for its 20th international convention, Banana Time 2023, aimed at making the banana value chain more competitive and sustainable. The three-day event – which is aimed at industry experts as well as the wider public – takes place at the Hilton Colón Hotel in the Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil from 24 to 27 October, bringing together leading national and international businesses in the sector. It promises to be an important platform for boosting knowledge exchange and business opportunities in the banana industry.
Despite a 6.6 per cent decrease in banana exports from Ecuador in 2022 – driven by the war in Ukraine, worker strikes and the depreciation of the dollar against the euro – Ecuador remains the world’s largest banana exporter by some distance. The country exported 354.6 million boxes of bananas in the 12 months from January to December 2022, according to the AEBE.
The Banana Time convention aims to optimise the entire banana value chain, as well as deliver commercial benefits for Ecuadorian producers more specifically. It will feature ’experience exchanges’ (where experienced professionals exchange industry information), wide-ranging exhibitions, and business roundtables, showcasing the latest innovations and trends shaping the sector.
In addition, the convention will cover the key issues affecting the banana industry’s performance, including growing conditions, consumer trends in international markets, labour issues, and the sector’s projected performance in 2024.
When it comes to sustainability, there will be an in-depth look at the impact of El Niño and La Niña in Ecuador, as well as presentations on initiatives to measure and reduce the carbon and water footprint of banana production.
The business conference will facilitate meetings between entrepreneurs, business people, investors and institutions, promising to boost international collaboration and trade between the various participating countries.
This year, more than 80 companies are taking part in the event, including producers, exporters, shipping companies, ports, logistics firms, and other service companies.
AEBE director José Antonio Hidalgo said: “This year we want to exhaust efforts to reach more and better the international market. For this reason, we seek to promote important changes in the productive conditions of the farms, from the technical and economic point of view, going through the labour, social and environmental aspects. Faced with the current situation in which we live in the country and the world, we have great challenges ahead of us. As an industry, we must respond with a responsible and comprehensive vision that thinks about people, the environment, and business in the long term.”