Ecuador banana price hike following 25% production drop

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Ecuador banana price hike following 25% production drop

Ecuadorian banana production has fallen by a quarter due to poor weather and the Black Sigatoka disease, website reported.

The Ecuadorian Banana Corporation (Agroban) said shipments fell by about 20 million cases until September, attributing the lower volumes to low temperatures which held up fruit growth.

Agroban executive director Manuel Romero, said the spot price for bananas had lept to US$9 compared with the official default price of US$5.50 a box.

He said the cool weather meant that bananas had not reached their full 12-week growth cycle a lot of fruit was being rejected at the packing stage.

Romero said the farms most affected by the poor weather were those that didn't receive proper support when the sector faced the Black Sigatoka crisis.

He said although the government had offered to fumigate smaller banana plantations of less than 10 acres, treatment only materialized after "the damage was done".

"They gave spray supplies out too late and the recovery process has been slow," Romero was quoted as saying.

The Black Sigatoka crisis started in mid July and continued until the end of the first week in September.

Trade bodies representing small banana farmers said their members were the most affected by the disease.

Association Cerro Azul secretary Miriam Naula, said the number of weekly banana boxes sent abroad fell by 18.75% from 19,000-16,000.

Orenses Banana Association representative Jorge Toapanta, said producers did not have enough money to spray and fertilize plantations last July because most payments were less than US$2.50 per box.

"Exporters disrespected contracts with regards to the official price and farmers did not have enough money to invest in their farms to keep them in good condition," he was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, fruit markets have insufficient stock with reports that wholesale deliveries have dropped from daily to just twice a week at prices up to twice the normal amount.

Related stories: Ecuadorian project find Black Sigatoka resistant genes

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