A banana farm in Ecuador’s central Los Ríos province has achieved yields that are more than double the country’s average level thanks to modern precision agriculture techniques.
Last year Agrícola Cañas’ ‘Hacienda Elisa’ farm reached production rates of 4,700 (18.5kg) boxes of bananas per hectare, well above the 2,000-box national average.
Agrícola Cañas managing director Sergio Cedeño told Fresh Fruit Portal that plantations with a high level of technology usually reached yields of 3,500-3,800 boxes per hectare, so the Hacienda Elisa operation was atypical.
He attributed efficient drainage, soil analysis and the right mix of fertilization and nutrition as key factors to the farm’s success.
Ecuadorian Banana Exporters Association (AEBE) president Eduardo Ledesma reacted positively to the news and hoped other growers would also be able to raise their yields.
“Hopefully we can raise the average by 200 boxes per hectare each year and with that we’d be exporting 25 million more boxes annually, which would be fabulous for the country in terms of employment, currency exchange and benefits,” Ledesma said.
He said the country’s banana exports last year reached 321 million boxes.