Two Colombian banana production areas have been quarantined after an outbreak of the Fusarium Wilt Tropical Race IV (TR4) disease, which threatens the world’s bananas. The news has put neighbouring countries are on high alert. The announcement comes after several weeks of speculations among the sector but silence from the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA).
Outbreak of Fusarium Wilt disease at Colombian banana plantations
New trade agreement between EU and Mexico lowers tariffs on bananas
A new trade agreement between the EU and Mexico will cover more than 85% of the sectors which were not covered by the previous agreement, including agriculture. The only products excluded relate to the sugar sector. Mexico’s banana exports will obtain the preferential tariff of €75/ton. For fruits not yet liberalised, such as apples, full liberalisation will be achieved in ten years, with tinned peaches to be liberalised within 7 years.
India’s bananas hit by wilt disease in Bihar and beyond
India’s banana farmers are reeling from the potential devastating effects of wilt disease, which is spreading across the country. The Tropical Race 4 (TR4) fungus strain which causes wilt disease in banana plants hit the world’s number one producer first in Cavendish plantations in Bihar, but subsequently in other areas too, such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Record in Peru’s banana exports
Peru’s banana exports for January to October 2016 were the highest they’ve been for that period in the last five years, a record attributed to increases in its production and in demand in its principal markets.
According to exporter association ADEX, the country’s banana exports in the first 10 months of last year were worth US $128.8 million, up 7% on the total for the same period in 2015. It said the volume exported was also up about 7%.
MEPs push Commission to better protect European banana sector
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.
Innovation from AgroFresh reinvigorating an industry mainstay
Today's produce market is often focused on newer, high-value categories, such as avocados and berries, as well as consumer convenience packaging. And while retailers are wise to keep up with consumer trends around these profitable products, it’s also critical not to lose focus on industry cornerstones such as bananas.
Innovation is happening in the banana industry as well. With bananas at the top of most supermarkets’ register rings, it pays to keep inventories and displays in exceptional form, according to AgroFresh Solutions, Inc., a global leader in food quality management.
Costa Rica seeks carbon neutrality
In the Costa Rican banana sector, both public and private institutions are working together to make headway towards production systems noted for a more efficient use of natural resources and for mitigation of greenhouse gases.
Their efforts fall within the national goal of making Costa Rica a carbon neutral country by 2021.
Tropical agriculture is also shouldering its responsibility as regards climate change. This is why most banana companies are well aware of the environment, above all Sura Green, which is a faithful representative of such values.
Bananas de Mexico, now a brand and quality seal
“Bananas de Mexico” is the new country brand launched in 2014 to promote fresh produce of Mexican origin.
Among the emblematic companies taking part in the “Bananas de Mexico” is the Cabal Group. Today the firm has 2600 hectares in production in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco and Colima, Mexico, equivalent to a weekly export volume of 100-140 container loads.
Cameroon opens up to imports
The Cameroonian company UNAPAC, which produces bananas and pineapples, was one of the African market’s representatives invited to the French fair Medfel as importers.
“We have also begun our fruit import activity with French apples this year, with to 2 or 3 containers a week,” said Jean-Marie Sop.
With 23 million inhabitants, Cameroon is one of Africa’s stable markets and is accessible to imports, with a 20% customs duty. “The big retailers have also begun to get established, generating more imports,” Sop said.
Nahder & Ibrahim has over 5,000 acres of bananas under cultivation
Bahrain’s leading distributor of fruit and vegetables has been successfully developing banana operations from the Philippines.
Launched 12 years ago, this includes production on more than 5,000 acres of its own banana plantations, as well as distribution in Asian markets like China and Japan.
Nahder & Ibrahim also supplies all of the GCC countries, as well as Iran.