Small Ecuador banana growers look to east to offset saturated EU market
Quoting Freddy Serrano, representative of the association, the report said that the European market is saturated by large, multinational banana exporters, making it hard for smaller producers to compete. As an alternative the association has signed an agreement with a Chinese distributor to start shipping bananas in 2011. For Serrano, it is China’s size that makes it attractive.
“For us it is the best market in the world; there are 1.3 billion inhabitants that could consume our bananas, and we have 400,000 cartons of excess stock each week that could be positioned in the Chinese market,” Serrano was quoted as saying.
The association has agreed to ship US$12 million of the fruit, at a final cost per carton of US $8.25. The agreement taps 400 growers in the provinces of Esmeraldas, Guayas and El Oro.
Another country that has caught the interest of the association is Libya, where a governmen- backed agreement has expanded shipments to 90,000 cartons per week. Tensions between growers and the Libyan receivers emerged last month after payments to growers were not made on time. However Serrano said that all debts have been paid and that the tensions have been “overcome.”