Mexico's leading banana growers address rising cost of organics

Mexico's leading banana growers address "unbearable" rising cost of organics

Mexico's leading banana growers address

The Mexican organic banana industry is speaking out on the intense cost pressure that it has absorbed over the last 18 months, saying it has become "unbearable".

Coliman Bananas, Organics Unlimited and Tropical Organic Growers released a statement on Monday to address production and supply chain challenges.

The industry has continued to absorb the high costs so "consumers can continue buying affordable organic bananas, however, the current commodity pricing surge has made this effort unbearable any longer."

With packing material prices rising nearly 20 percent, plastic bags seeing a 15 percent increase and labor costs doubling, the organic banana industry feels there is no end in sight to these cost pressures.

Along with the world’s shipping container shortage, higher costs from ensuring a safe environment and several major climate disasters impacted the production areas causing fruit loss and unexpected costs.

"We cannot support this great pressure any longer. This is not a recent issue as we have been struggling with reduced margins for several years. However, the current situation is impossible."

"Organic banana prices have gone down systematically in the past 10 years, and although we want to offer competitive prices to increase the consumer base and offer affordable fruit, we can no longer sustain what in many cases has become a negative margin situation."

Growing organic is a different practice from conventional with a much higher cost structure due to the need to use certified organic inputs, non-chemical solutions and sustainable farming practices.

However, the industry is seeing a mere $.10 per pound price difference between the conventional and organic presentations in U.S. retail stores. Input prices rose year over year for the past decade while organic banana prices dropped consistently during the same period.

"Now is the time for a price adjustment for organic bananas to endure and promote the benefits of sustainable, organic agriculture."

In the last year, the Mexican organic banana industry has produced and delivered over seven million boxes of bananas to the U.S. market. The country recently became the second-largest source of organic bananas to America, second only to Ecuador.

This outcry comes at a time when the Latin American banana industry has also spoken about the burden of soaring costs.

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