Ecuador's banana exports jumped 11% through May - FreshFruitPortal.com

Ecuador's banana exports jumped 11% through May

Ecuadorian banana exports through May jumped 11% year-on-year, largely due to higher levels of production thanks to the newly planted 4,000 hectares of bananas.

"Those that came into production were available to harvest in November and December," said Richard Salazar of Acorbanec.

The year began "began quite well, making up for some of the losses we experienced last year," he said. "Last year in Ecuador there was a decline of about 14%-15% relative to the 2018 season."

Ecuadorian banana exports between January and May 2020 reached 175,590,000 boxes, the equivalent of US$1.93bn in FOB, according to a report by Acorbanec. That figure is significantly higher than in the same period in 2018, 2017, and 2016.

Of those boxes sent, 29% were destined for countries in Europe, 21% to Russia, 15% to the Middle East, 9.35% to the U.S. and the rest to other countries across Asia and Oceania.

There has been an increase in exports this season to Western Europe, with about 16% more exports to the region. Ecuadorian banana exports are also rising to the Middle East with 26% more shipments.

Of the companies that export bananas out of the country, Ubesa - belonging to Dole - made up 11% of all exported products. Behind Dole were Reybanpac, Frutadeli and Comersur.

Banana exports amid a pandemic

As Ecuador continues monitoring how the Covid-19 pandemic will increase its banana industry, Acorbanec emphasized that "the production sector and the export sector are working hard to accomplish new protocol and adopt new measures for biosecurity in our fields and packaging facilities," said Salavar.

Those measures have included "disinfecting all surfaces that come into contact with the fruit, restricting physical contact and practicing social distancing in our workspaces. Further, personal hygiene and the obligatory use of masks and gloves have been implemented," he explained.

"Overall, there is a lack of workers out of fear of contagion, in particular among those involved in the transportation process, in container shipping areas and in other areas of the supply chain," he concluded.