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11th International Banana Forum set to start in Ecuador

Banano foro

Concern over EU restrictions on organic banana imports

The 11th International Banana Forum begins tomorrow in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with the theme “Towards increased competitiveness and productivity.”

The three-day event will see evaluation of the outlook for the sector next year and options for eradication of the leaf-spot disease Black Sigatoka, among other key issues.

While it’s a generally a good moment for the banana sector, Eduardo Ledesma, executive director of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE), recently told the digital channel VITOTVO he sees two major challenges.

One is Fusarium wilt (Panama disease), which has decimated thousands of hectares in Asia, Africa and Australia, and the other is the EU restrictions on marketing of organic bananas treated with mineral oil, due to health concerns.

Ledesma said a big investment is needed to develop an oil that can be registered in export markets and used for both conventional and organic crops. Such an investment is unlikely to be made by the government but would be possible for the private sector, which could recoup its costs in countries such as Colombia and Costa Rica, which use more such oils than Ecuador, he said.

The banana forum, which runs from October 14-16, is set to receive more than 3,000 domestic and foreign visitors.
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