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Hoover Encalada, Sweet Fruit:

"They wouldn't let us send such poor quality bananas from Ecuador"

Even though Ecuador led the banana market in 2016, Ecuadorian banana prices are currently quite high because of the heavy rains in that country this season, which have flooded some plantations, saturated soils and have affected the fruit's quality. 

"We must have good prices and good quality to compete," said producer and importer Hoover Encalada, who dislikes the fact that many traders and importers don't worry about the producers' welfare. "Unfortunately, producers can't offer their workers better working conditions and quality of life if they don't get good prices. That has to change. That's why I want to find a market that offers producers good prices." 

Minimum price     
The Ministry of agriculture, livestock, aquaculture and fisheries (MAGAP), through the Ministerial Agreement 265, fixed the minimum price of a 41.5 to 43 pounds box of bananas at $6.26 for the year 2017. However, due to the rains, they are currently sold at approximately $12 per box, a price that many U.S. companies are not willing to pay, which is why they decide to import bananas from other competitors, such as Colombia and Costa Rica. "Costa Rica has a higher production per hectare than Ecuador, but they have good prices throughout the year," he said. 

Encalada lives in United States, and occasionally checks the bananas from his competitors in the supermarkets, where he finds all kinds of qualities and prices. "Lately I see bad quality  bananas in supermarkets, from Guatemala, Costa Rica or Nicaragua, and I don't understand how they can export this quality, especially because they are priced at $0.69 per pound, which multiplied by 40 pounds amounts to 27.60 dollars per box." We wouldn't be allowed to export these bananas in Ecuador," he stated. 

Sweet Fruit      
Hoover Encalada is a second generation farmer who is currently not trading bananas, but he intends to reopen his company, Sweet Fruit, very soon to import Ecuadorian bananas to the United States. 

He is the son of a poor farmer who worked hard all his life, Encalada studied agriculture in Central America and in the United States and began to export his own banana production in 2005, a short time after his father died. His main markets were the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Spain and United States. Unfortunately, two years later, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, an ailment that forced him to leave the business for five years, until 2012, when he again exported some containers to the United States. However, the market had changed a lot and he could not compete with the big companies, so he returned to sell his plantation in January this year. 

Currently, he is planning to collaborate with a producer friend to import bananas to the United States and Europe. "We will start with bananas, but the idea is to import fruit in general. I also have other contacts in Colombia and Costa Rica, and we could export their fruits to these markets. After all, my biggest market used to be Europe," he said. 
More information: 
Hoover Encalada
Sweet Fruit S.A.
U.S.A. Celphone: 786.281.1470
Skype: hoover.encalada
Email.: hooverencalada@hotmail.com / hooverencalada@gmail.com
Facebook: Don HES Premium Bananas.

Publication date: 5/5/2017


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