Honduran banana losses lower than thought
The Honduran banana sector has lowered its damage estimate from Hurricanes Eta and Iota which hit the Central American country just two weeks apart earlier this month.
An industry representative this week said that it appeared only around 3,700 hectares of plantations have been damaged or lost due to flooding, down from the original estimate of 8,000 hectares.
Héctor Castro, president of the Association of Independent Banana Producers, said preliminary estimates showed Eta and Iota had impacted 2,520 hectares of plantations in the key Sula Valley region, which lies along the sits along the Aguán River.
This equates to more than $55 million in losses, he said.
In addition, multinational Chiquita has reportedly lost a further 1,200 hectares, according to Hondu Diario.
"This doesn't just represent the crop losses, but also around 5,500 direct jobs," Castro said.
The shortfall in the Honduran banana sector has pushed up banana prices in Ecuador. According to website Expreso the box price reached $7.30 last week, well above the minimum price of $6.30 set for 2020, and is expected to rise even further in the coming weeks.
Bananas are Hondura's second-largest export, generating more than US$500m in foreign revenue a year. The country ship primarily to the U.S. and EU.