100% U.S. focus for Peruvian organic banana co-op in 2015
The Piura Center for Small Organic Banana Grower Associations (CEPIBO) in northern Peru has historically sent the vast majority of its fruit to Europe, but this year this year the export strategy is entirely different.
In 2014, CEPIBO sent 474 containers to the European Union and just 42 to the U.S., but now the decision has been made to send all exports to North America.
"CEPIBO has been exporting bananas to the U.S. for more than three years but in small quantities that did not surpass two weekly containers, as it had a customer in Europe whose price was higher," CEPIBO advisor León Rufino told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"In November of 2014, CEPIBO was offered a price of US$1 more per box for the U.S. They spoke with the European customer (whose contract had finished) in order to adjust prices, and the customer decided to buy from other organizations."
As a result, CEPIBO is now shipping 10 containers a weeky of organic and fair trade-certified bananas to the U.S., worth around US$138,000 in total per week.
"In April it will reach 12 and possibly in August there will be 14 weekly containers where each one has 960 boxes of bananas," Rufino said.
"To export to the U.S. there is not the demand to have GlobalG.A.P. certification - although CEPIBO does have the certification - and also the ships arrive a lot faster and have a better flow of communication."
The advisor, who also is a project coordinator with NGO Progreso, said CEPIBO had the potential to ship 20 containers each week but faced limitations related to infrastructure and capital for agricultural inputs.
"That's why negotiations are going on with imports and foreign lenders to increase CEPIBO's credit line. We have also been undertaking organization reforms, with the aim of strengthening the organization."