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Ecuador can now export its mango to China

Promising outlook Ecuador’s new mango campaign due to greater volumes, high quality fruit.

Thanks to a short winter and excellent weather during harvest, Ecuador’s new mango campaign is one of optimum quality. And what’s more, experts predict the volume will be up 10% on last year.

In 2015, exports totalled 11.3 million boxes of mango, but Ecuadorian exporters expect to go above the 12 million mark in the 2016 season, which runs from October to January.

Their main market is the US, which takes 90% of Ecuador’s mango exports.

However, a new market has opened which could change how the future unfolds for the sector. In January 2016, a new protocol allowed imports of Ecuadorian mango into China, the full impact of which has yet to be seen.  

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MEPs push Commission to better protect European banana sector

bananaEDFflcr

While Ecuador is negotiating with the European Union a downward revision of the tariff on bananas entering the EU market, the Commission on International Trade of the European Parliament has since October called for amendments to the regulation on the stabilisation mechanism for bananas and to better protect banana producers in the outermost regions.
Ecuador is the world’s top banana exporter and the protocol for its free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union was signed on November 11, opening the door in the EU for banana imports at very competitive prices.

Ecuador is able to offer high quality bananas in large quantities in the first half of the year, when retail demand for bananas is high. In 2015, it was already Europe’s number two supplier despite having a tariff handicap relative to its competitors in African, Caribbean and Central American countries. Andean countries such as Colombia and Peru could also import at a lower tariff.

The European Parliament has sought asked to amend the EU regulation on the stabilisation mechanism for bananas, created in trade negotiations between the EU and the countries of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador and Peru). The stability mechanism’s annual trigger import volume has been exceeded on a number of occasions – by Peru in 2013 and 2014, and by Peru and Guatemala in 2015.

It has not been necessary to activate the mechanism, however, and no distortion was caused in the European market. Nevertheless, EU Member States maintain there have been considerable delays in alerting them when the annual trigger import volume has been exceeded.

In 2016 the trigger volumes of Peru and Guatemala will again possible be reached. There is no need to panic, however. Banana production in the outermost reaches of the EU are at record levels. The yearly aid mechanism worth €280 million a year for a production of 690,000 tons is successfully applied, certainly in the Canary Islands, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

In 2007, banana production in Guadeloupe and Martinique, which was still recovering from the Chlordecone crisis, was hit by hurricane Dean. With the support of the French government, the EU and regional authorities, the banana growers of UGPBAN (banana grower association of the French West Indies) decided to set up a global innovation plan to restore the banana industry, building on the principles of agroecology.

The plan has achieved its goals, with more than a 50% reduction in pesticide use and a noticeable comeback in animal biodiversity on banana farms. The promising results led UGPBAN to create, in addition to organic and fair trade labels, the Banane Française label, said to mark world’s ‘cleanest’ bananas. The Banane Française price has risen to €0.40 per banana. It is sold in packs of 3-6 bananas with a French flag sticker.

Similar initiatives took place on the Canary Islands, where the ‘Platano’ is promoted as a better banana. In this globalised world, the European banana is well prepared to face the challenge of cheap banana imports, but continued support from European authorities is needed.

LH

Sources:
‘Cassinelli: Acuerdo con la UE se firmará el 11 de noviembre’
‘La banane des antilles fait peau neuve’
‘Agroecological banana production in Guadeloupe and Martinique: from pesticide reduction to sales price improvement’, S. Zanoletti

 

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Bananas del Ecuador seeks to retrieve relations with Europe

Located in the Los Ríos area of Ecuador, Ecuasabor has roughly 2000 hectares of produce, 800 its own and the rest from other producers committed to the company, and with a weekly production capacity of 100,000 boxes of Cavendish variety bananas, totalling 1900 tons of fruit for export weekly.

“We are always looking for new destinations, and what we would really like is to reactivate relations in Europe, where we hope the situation will improve when the agreement with this continent comes into force in 2016,” says the manager from Ecuadorian company Ecuasabor.

Likewise, all Ecuadorian banana exporters hope that the relation with the old continent is about to improve.

After a four-year break in negotiations, in July 2014 Ecuador agreed to join the trade agreement signed by Colombia and Peru with the EU in 2012, but which does not come into force until late 2016 or early 2017. Under this agreement, crates of Ecuadorian and Colombian bananas will be paying the same tariffs by 2020.

Located in the Los Ríos area of Ecuador, Ecuasabor has roughly 2000 hectares of produce, 800 its own and the rest from other producers committed to the company, and with a weekly production capacity of 100,000 boxes of Cavendish variety bananas, totalling 1900 tons of fruit for export weekly.

“One of our fruit’s properties is that it can withstand long journeys, which is why we are focusing on sending it to markets in the Middle and Far East. However, we are waiting for relations with Europe to stabilise to resume our trade links there,” explains Katherine Ubilla, the company’s sales director.

This feature allows them to export banana to countries such as Russia, China, Japan and Saudi Arabia, among others, following the strictest quality standards.

With the mission of becoming the number one option among fruit suppliers worldwide, the company concentrates on providing a professional service, aiming at all times to communicate with the end consumer and provide them with the highest quality fruit.

In line with current trends, the company also markets baby and red bananas, and plans to produce both varieties with organic and fair trade certificates.

NV

 

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US opens to Ecuador’s blackberries, raspberries

As of May 9, fresh Andean blackberries and raspberries can be imported from Ecuador into the continental United States under what is known as a systems approach.

As of May 9, fresh Andean blackberries and raspberries can be imported from Ecuador into the continental United States under what is known as a systems approach.

Designed to protect against the introduction of quarantine pests into the US, in this case the systems approach would include requirements for commercial consignments of the berries to come from a pest free production site within a certified low pest prevalence area for fruit flies, and pest monitoring and trapping.

The fruit – fresh Andean blackberry (Rubus glaucus Benth) and raspberry (Rubus idaeus Linnaeus) – would also have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national plant protection organization of Ecuador bearing an additional declaration stating that the consignment was produced and prepared for export in accordance with the requirements of the systems approach.

The three plant pests seen as having the highest pest risk potential in regard to the blackberry and raspberry fruit imports from Ecuador into the continental US are Anastrepha fraterculus (South American fruit fly), Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly), and Copitarsia decolora, a moth.

APHIS – the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – published the final rule allowing for the imports on April 8 and it will be effective as of May 9.

Ecuador’s berry exports

According to APHIS documents, in 2005, Ecuador had approximately 4,275 ha of Andean blackberry and raspberry crops with a potential annual production of 6,840 tons of fruit. Its exports of fresh Andean raspberries and blackberries averaged 13 tons per year for 2000-06, but by 2007 had reached 90 tons.

The document says the quantity of Andean blackberry and raspberry expected to be imported into the US from Ecuador yearly is less than 180 metric tons, though the amount per species is not yet known.

(This estimate is based on the fact that the sea shipping containers typically used for estimating the volume of fresh fruit shipments are 40 feet long and hold approximately 40,000 pounds or 18.18 metric tons of fruit. According to an estimate given to APHIS by Ecuador’s government, the maximum quantity of fresh Andean blackberry and raspberry that Ecuador is expected to export annually to the US is less than 10 shipping containers per year, or less than 181.8 tons.)

Economic impact on US berry growers

Before the rule’s approval, APHIS analysed data to check the move would not have a significant economic impact on small domestic growers in the US.

It said that over 2008-12, the US imported 37.22 million pounds of fresh raspberries and over 2011-13 imported 63 million pounds of fresh blackberries.

Comparing the volume level of these imports with the expected annual imports from Ecuador of less than 180 tons, the Ecuadorian import share would be less than 0.4% of the U.S. import share for these fruits and not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, it said.

In the 5 years to 2012, US raspberry and blackberry production for the fresh market averaged about 96 million pounds and 4 million pounds a year, respectively, for a total of about 100 million pounds, or about 45,372 tons.

(Because the Andean blackberry is more closely comparable to the loganberry (a blackberry-raspberry hybrid) than it is to the common blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), APHIS said it based its analysis on aggregate quantities of Rubus species commercially produced by the US.)

US raspberry production

According to APHIS, raspberries and blackberries are grown in at least 37 US states but just three – Oregon, Washington, and California – account for nearly all US commercial production of raspberries, blackberries and loganberries. The majority of red raspberry production occurs in California and Washington and Oregon grows more than 98% of US blackberries and nearly all of the nation’s commercial loganberries and boysenberries.

Raspberries rank third as the most popular berry in the US, coming after strawberries and blueberries.In 2013, California produced 94.1 million pounds of raspberries, valued at $239 million, and Washington, 68.1 million pounds valued at nearly $57.3 million (tables 2 and 3).

Over the five-year period, 2008-2012, the value of US raspberry production averaged $312 million. However, a significant portion of the US raspberry crop is processed; on average over the five-year period, about 56% (96 million pounds of 171 million pounds) were sold fresh.

The US is a net exporter of raspberry, and yet still imports a significant quantity, APHIS said.

Over the five years, 2008-2012, US raspberry imports averaged over 37 million pounds, supplying 48% of domestic fresh raspberry consumption

Mexico is the major source, supplying over 90% of US fresh raspberry and blackberry imports, followed by Guatemala with 4%, Canada with 2% and Chile with 1%.

US blackberry production

In 2013, 51 million pounds of blackberries were produced on 7,300 acres, of which 4 million pounds were sold as fresh berries and the remaining 47 million pounds sold as processed product, including frozen. The value of US blackberry production, 2008-2012, averaged $37 million dollars.

sources:

APHIS:
Analysis in Support of Certification that the Rule will not have a Significant Economic Impact on a Substantial Number of Small Entities
Importation of Fresh Andean Blackberry and Raspberry Fruit From Ecuador Into the Continental United States

 

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Banana from Ecuador strengthens its supply

Manobanda group

This year kicked off in January with a peak season for Ecuadorian bananas, reaching historical prices of up to $12 dollars per case.

This was due to a falloff in production volumes from neighbouring countries. Due to weather-related issues, Central America and Colombia presented their lowest production figures this year. In turn, this strengthened the supply from Ecuador in the face of increasingly higher demand.

Manobanda group raises productivity and competitiveness

The year 2014 was a record one for Ecuadorian bananas, but the situation changed in 2015, a year in which the sector went through a scenario of sales slowing down related to the devaluation of the Russian ruble and the strength of the dollar against the euro. Jorge Manobanda explains that “in spite of this, we maintained many clients thanks to the improvement in productivity that the company has achieved and the minimal growth in exports, sacrificing the price of the fruit.”

The surpluses from Central America and Columbia were also a factor that hit Ecuadorian producers in 2015. Added to this there is the fact that the treaty with the European Union has still not come into force, so that Ecuador does not have the tariff advantage enjoyed by other competing countries in the region. “We have a lot of expectations about this agreement coming into force in order to reverse the situation this year a little,” Manobanda states. 

Recently, the national government lowered the benchmark price for a box of bananas, which helps avoid generating false expectations for 2016. Winter in the Northern Hemisphere also creates expectations for an increase in demand, for which “we hope to keep up the volumes with our usual clients and to have competitive prices in order to be able to be present in the markets.”

Although the Manobanda group has always concentrated on maintaining the quality of their bananas, 2015 was a year when their attention focussed particularly on improving their farms’ levels of productivity, which was achieved by about 10-15%, and on reducing costs to be more competitive. Manobanda believes that “the markets and the macro-economic situation will improve in 2016 to create a better environment for the Ecuadorian banana industry.”

This article appeared on page 46 of issue 142 (March/April 2016) of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that edition online here.

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El Niño hits Ecuadorian mango

Mango is the world’s fourth most widely traded fruit and Ecuador is one of the main exporters worldwide.

Volumes in this campaign are uncertain due to climate phenomenon El Niño.

High temperatures, the early rains and uncertainty about the extent of the ravages of the El Niño phenomenon preclude accurate volume forecasts for this campaign, although Bernardo Malo, Mango Ecuador Foundation CEO, assures us that “this would mean 15% less than last year.”

Mango is the world’s fourth most widely traded fruit and Ecuador is one of the main exporters worldwide. The Ecuadorian fruit is noted for quality, which has been on the rise thanks to recent investments at crop level, the wide range of varieties and the time of year it comes onto the market. Mango cultivation covers an area of 5,700 hectares with varieties such as Tommy Atkins (65%), Haden, Kent and Keitt available from October to January. Ecuador continues to explore most of its fruit to the US, which takes up 85%, while the remaining 15% is split between Europe, Canada, Mexico and other smaller markets such as Chile and Colombia.

Big challenges facing the sector

The Ecuador Mango Foundation CEO Bernardo Malo explains the situation in the country, with two scenarios worthy of note. “On one hand, the volume concentration throughout the season hasn’t been ideal. The best possible situation would be for the supply to be as regular as possible so that the markets stay healthy, which didn’t occur, as a significant amount of fruit built up over a few weeks. On the other hand, Ecuador is suffering the consequences of the strengthening dollar, which puts us at a disadvantage compared to other competitors in the region, like Brazil and Peru.”

So, explains the CEO, competitive edge is lost and it becomes harder to access certain markets, such as Colombia, whose currency has been devalued 50%, making it necessary to offload the product in markets where this disadvantage for Ecuadorians should be less acute, particularly the US. The Ecuadorian mango strategy to deal with these challenges will focus on becoming increasingly efficient in management and operational terms, improving productivity and mitigating the current issue of undermined competitive edge.

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Bananas from Ecuador in Asia to stay?

Asian consumers really like Ecuadorian bananas, which is why the country’s exporters forecast that these quantities will be repeated for 2015 and 2016, or even increased slightly up to 17 million boxes.

Weather problems in the Philippines in 2014 created opportunities in the Asian market that Ecuador’s banana exporters hope will endure.

Ecuador has always exported to Asia. But until now, only insignificant volumes were being shipped, because even though the quality of Ecuadorian produce was better than the local supply, the shippers could easily be priced out of business. Year-end figures for 2013 showed exports of just 3 million crates. But in 2014, the Philippines had weather problems and was unable to supply its market share, leaving the window open for Ecuadorian operators to export an impressive 16 million boxes.

Asian consumers really like Ecuadorian bananas, which is why the country’s exporters forecast that these quantities will be repeated for 2015 and 2016, or even increased slightly up to 17 million boxes. Even when Philippine fruit comes back onto the market, it seems likely that Asian consumers will continue to appreciate the good prices and high quality of bananas from Ecuador. But this all remains to be seen, depending on market stability.

For Ecuador, last year 2015 was unusual, with constantly low prices. Historically, the campaign is split into two periods: high prices and low prices. Annual report graphs outlined how one season and the high-priced period minimised the losses that occurred during the low price periods. When doing the books, it was usually considered a “good” season. Nevertheless, in 2015 the price of Ecuadorian banana suffered no periods of variation, and instead remained stable. This new model gave rise to concern and uncertainty in the sector, with exports to Asia most likely to suffer.

LH

This article appeared on page 80 in the News section of edition 141, Jan/Feb 2016, of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that issue online here.

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US greenlights pepper imports from Ecuador

Fresh peppers from Ecuador may be imported into the United States effective November 23. Under a final rule published by the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on October 23, the peppers will have to have been produced in accordance with a systems approach

Fresh peppers from Ecuador may be imported into the United States effective November 23.

Under a final rule published by the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on October 23, the peppers will have to have been produced in accordance with a systems approach.

“That includes requirements for fruit fly trapping, pre-harvest inspections, production sites, and packinghouse procedures designed to exclude quarantine pests. The fruit will also be required to be imported in commercial consignments and accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national plant protection organisation of Ecuador stating that the consignment was produced and prepared for export in accordance with the requirements in the systems approach,” it said.

The rule applies to the following peppers:

  • common bell pepper (Capsicum annuumL.),
  • locoto pepper (Capsicum baccatum L.),
  • habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.),
  • tabasco pepper (Capsicum frutescens L.), and
  • manzano pepper (Capsicum pubescens Ruiz & Pav.).

According to the rule, fresh pepper yields in Ecuador expanded from about 12,522 pounds per hectare (pounds/ha) in 1996 to approximately 66,361 pounds/ha in 2006. APHIS estimates imports of no more than 10 containers (200 MT) of fresh peppers from Ecuador into the US annually.

“This quantity is equivalent to less than 0.02 percent of annual U.S. fresh pepper production. Similarly, the estimated quantity of fresh pepper imports from Ecuador (200 MT annually) is minimal compared to the total quantity of fresh peppers imported by the United States in recent years (800,000 MT annually).

“In the United States, the average value of bell pepper production per farm in 2012 was approximately $52,300, and the average value of chili pepper production per farm was approximately $20,700. Both levels are well below the small-entity standard of $750,000.”

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China’s banana consumption doubles over a decade to 9.5kg per capita

China’s per capita consumption doubles over a decade from 5 to 9.5kg, and imports quadruple to 1.5 billion tons.

China is the third largest banana-producing country in the world after India and Brazil, but ahead of Ecuador, the largest banana-exporting country. The banana is a major cash plant in southern China and has earned a good reputation among consumers, fostering employment for over 2 million people. Over the last 10 years in the southern equatorial Chinese areas, mainly in Guangdong and Hainan provinces, 12 million tons of fresh bananas have been produced on an area of 413,000 hectares now, up from 295,000 ha in 2006. In the same period, the yield per ha has increased by almost 20% to 29 tons/ha. It is said that China has now reached its maximum production capacity. The land suitable for banana planting is exhausted, while some areas are susceptible to tropical storms and even typhoons and flooding. Also, China’s domestic banana production capacity is unlikely to expand significantly due to constraints on transportation, labour and environmental costs. Over the last decade, the banana industry has feared the outbreak of a banana plant virus on the continent called Panama Tropical Race 4 disease, which could spread quickly in the main commercial production areas of the Cavendish banana. Today, the Chinese population of 1.4 billion consumers is getting richer and needs more fresh fruit as they recognize its health benefits. The consumption of all fruit is increasing, including bananas. Chinese consumption of bananas is catching up with the rest of the world, last year reaching 9.5 kg per capita and per year, compared to the U.S. with 13 kg and the EU with 11 kg. Domestic production meets the vast majority of China’s demand, with only 5-8% satisfied by imports. In the second half of 2014, the El Niño effect appeared in force, bringing drought to the Western Pacific region. Banana production on technified banana farms in South China and neighboring countries like the Philippines saw reduced yields.

High costs with domestic supplies

Local produce is fighting for its market share against imports as it faces higher costs of transporting bananas from some major production areas to the north-eastern cities. Banana imports increased substantially in 2014, even in the southern city of Shanghai. During the first seven months of 2015, imports rose by 30% and reached 715,000 tons, of which 200,000 tons were Ecuadorian bananas. At the same pace, China will import 1.46 million tons this year, almost three times the amount in 2013, taking a 12% market share. Dalian is the main banana port in north-eastern China, where the major banana companies have their logistical hubs. Dole Philippines leads with the largest market share. The Sumitomo group from Japan ranks second and has its own large-scale banana plantation in the Philippines with the banana brand ‘Gracio’. It takes 30-40 days to ship bananas to China from Ecuador, but the Ecuadorian banana’s competitive pricing versus Philippine bananas has led many importers to make the switch.

Stronger demand ahead for Ecuadorian bananas

The demand for Ecuadorean bananas is rising and it may continue to grow strongly in the years ahead. Indeed, the major shipping lines have made extra reefer space available. CMA-CGM is now offering a new service provid- „Peru, world’s second largest organic banana exporter Peruvian banana exports amounted to US $120 million in 2014, representing an increase of 35% on the previous year and a 53% share of total Peruvian organic exports, reports PromPeru. The country is now positioned as the second largest exporter of organic bananas worldwide. The main destination markets were the Netherlands with 42%, the USA with 27% and Germany with 16%, followed by Belgium, Japan, Finland, South Korea, the UK, Canada and Chile. In the first half of 2015, shipments of this product amounted to US $ 73 million, in other words 28% more compared to the same period in 2014. ing faster and more direct access to the Chinese market, with controlled atmosphere reefer containers guaranteeing fresh quality on arrival. The ship arrives in Guayaquil from China carrying electronics, toys, raw materials, and general consumer goods. It leaves Ecuador bound for Mexico, then South Korea and China, carrying a shipment of Ecuadorean bananas. However, banana growers in several neighboring countries in south-eastern Asia (such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia) also seek an outlet and are looking to enter China. Demand for higher quality imports will get stronger, particularly in the big cities. Chinese producers have been warned: an upgrade to their cold chain management system is mandatory. 

LH

This article originally appeared on page 74 of edition 139 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that issue online here.

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Concerns about Ecuador’s new tariff surcharges

Imported fresh fruit – including oranges and pears – is now subject to a 45% tariff in Ecuador.

Imported fresh fruit – including oranges and pears – is now subject to a 45% tariff in Ecuador.

This comes under a new system – designed to help the country surmount a drop in oil prices and dollar appreciation – which applies surcharges of 5–45% for a period of 15 months on a wide range of goods.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the measure was effective as of March 11 and impacts at least 461 food and agricultural product tariff lines.

A report by the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service said it will have a significant impact on the US. “This measure can potentially transform Ecuador into mere bulk commodity (e.g., wheat and cotton) and intermediate goods (e.g., soybean meal) export destination,” it said.

The Andes news agency reports there are also concerns about the move in Chile, which last year exported nearly 61,000 tons of apples to Ecuador.

 

Sources:
la Agencia de Noticias Andes: Ecuador will explain safeguard measures to Chile
USDA FAS GAIN report: Ecuador Announces Unilateral Safeguards on Food and Agricultural Products
Image: Flag-map of Ecuador by Darwinek via Wikimedia Commons