Due to the high price of Ecuador’s bananas, exports to Germany have dropped by 20-25% in 2019, according to industry sources. German retailers are instead looking to buy cheaper alternatives from Central America, like Guatemala. The relatively high prices of Ecuadorian bananas are due partly to the country’s government setting a minimum sales price and partly due to the higher shipping costs from South America, from where ships must pay to cross the Panama Canal. On October 26, 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture of Ecuador set the minimum price for 2019 at US$6.30 per 20 kg box of bananas.
Europe and the US account for around 45% of Ecuador’s banana exports. The bananas no longer purchased by Germany are heading to Russia and other markets in Europe and the US. Ecuador’s banana production has increased on average by 17% over the past two years.