Despite problems with the EU market and adverse winter conditions, Ecuador recorded a 2% year-on-year increase in banana exports during the first quarter of 2019, shipping 95.3 million boxes. However, Ecuador’s banana exports to the EU dropped 15% in the first three months of the year, according to the Banana Marketing and Export Association (ACORBANEC). The fall in shipments is attributed to cheaper competitors like Guatemala.
Ecuador’s banana exporters look beyond EU
Latin American banana exports worth $5.6 billion
Latin America and the Caribbean is the world’s largest banana-exporting region. Estimates point to a total combined export value of around US$11 billion for bananas and major tropical fruits from Latin America and the Caribbean, of which bananas accounted for about US$6 billion, according to data published by FAO. Between 2016 and 2018, the total production volume of bananas in the region was an estimated 30 million tons per year, while total exports reached an annual average of 13 million tons, representing 80% of world banana shipments, worth US$5.6 billion per year.
Germany looks to alternatives to expensive Ecuadorian bananas
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.
Colombian banana exports rise 2.5% despite weather issues
In spite of challenges with the weather conditions, Colombia’s banana exports rose 2.5% in 2018, reaching just over 100 million boxes worth around US$859 million, according to the Augura association, whose members represent 78% of the total volume. Bananas represent Colombia’s third-largest agricultural export after coffee and flowers.
Banana exports to the EU and US rise in 2018
Fresh Del Monte posts Q3 loss of US$21.5 million
Due to “operational challenges” from the first part of 2018, Fresh Del Monte Produce has reported a net loss for the third quarter of US$21.5 million. The company acquired Mann Packing in February and in June recalled some vegetable trays following reports of illnesses. Del Monte posted a profit of US$11.5 million in the third quarter of 2017.
Supply of bananas to Spanish market up 4.6% in 2018
The Customs and Excise Administration of the Tax Agency has just published information on foreign trade in Spain for the month of May 2018. In that month, banana imports almost equalled exports from the Canary Islands. Around 32,000 tons were shipped from the Canary Islands to the Spanish market, with imports from abroad totalled about 29,700 tons. Compared with the month of April, shipments from the Canary Islands were down by 5%, imports fell by 9% and re-exports dropped by 2%.
Fyffes recognised for Fairtrade contribution
This year marks 30 years since Mexican coffee producers decided to advocate for better trade conditions to reduce their dependencies on charity and off-farm activities, creating the basis for what is today the Fairtrade Movement. At a celebratory event titled "Fairtrade: Thirty Years Creating Value with Producers Worldwide” held in San Jose, Costa Rica, key actors were recognised for their contribution to the movement. One such player was Fyffes, in the Trader Category, which was awarded a prize for its fundamental role in developing fairtrade practices.
Fusarium wilt disease triggers race to find resistant banana variety
The race is on to develop a banana variety resistant to the diseases and climatic changes that currently threaten the world’s favourite fruit. International trade in the fruit is worth US$13bn a year. But the global supply chain is threatened by a virulent disease that has been attacking plantations in Australia, south-east Asia and parts of Africa and the Middle East. Experts warn that “Fusarium wilt”, or Panama disease, could spread to Latin America, from where the majority of bananas are exported, prompting scientists to research new varieties.
Global banana market in crisis
After 2018 got off to such a positive start in terms of both price and volume, the banana market has experienced a rapid fall in prices since April due to overproduction. This crisis, which started in Russia before moving westwards, comes at a time when negotiations are set to begin between Europe and the countries of the dollar zone with a view to lowering tariffs. This crisis has been on the horizon for some time now and has only been averted thus far by adverse weather conditions lowering output. But the long-expected trouble now appears to be at the gate.