Colombian banana production hit unlikely to impact exports, says Augura

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Colombian banana production hit unlikely to impact exports, says Augura

The Colombian Banana Growers Association (Augura) says winter weather conditions have cut back production significantly, but exports will still be roughly in line with last year.

Augura economic analyst Jorge Espina tells preliminary estimates show a likely 3% fall in production in Urabá, but much heavier rains and flooding in Magdalena mean it will likely lose 15% of its crop.

"But in any case exports are not that affected by it. In Santa Marta in Magdalena together with the region of Guajira they will likely lose between 200 and 300 hectares of export crops. They have 13,000 hectares now so that's a fall to about 12,700 hectares, so it's not such a large fall," he says.

"Colombian producers and exporters have contracts with ripeners and multinationals and it looks like the total quantity with them will be more or less the same as last year in terms of exports.

"I believe Colombia will export 92 million cartons in total in 2012, which is more or less the amount that was exported last year."

He says exchange rates continue to be a challenge.

"Right now, and it was like this in 2011, the biggest difficulty that banana exporters have had to get over is the revaluation of the Colombian peso to the U.S. dollar," he says.

"Every day the U.S. dollar is worth fewer pesos, and that affects the price growers get per carton and revenues have started to fall.

"Colombia's business abroad, it doesn’t matter what the destination is, is done in dollars so it doesn’t matter if it’s with the European Union, it still affects growers."

Espina adds a lot of the floods in Magdalena affected small subsistence farmers.

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