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Italy is the main destination for Ecuadorian bananas

Italy became the leading destination for Ecuadorian exports to the European Union (EU) between January and April this year, taking this position from Germany, which had been the main buyer until 2016.

According to Pro Ecuador, sales rose by 56.2% compared to the same period in 2016. The agreement with the European Union (EU), in force since 1 January, has had an impact, as explained by Ariella Ullian, commercial aggregate of the Embassy of Italy.

The exporters agree with this and believe that the agreement brought stability, because it permanently eliminated the tariffs. Italians increased the demand for Ecuadorian products and signed long-term contracts.

Bananas are Ecuador's flagship product, representing 48.3% of the total local sales to the Italian market. Ullian explains that, with the agreement, the price per metric tonne was reduced, which helped increase the demand.

Until 2016, the country got 104 Euro per metric tonne. This year, the value dropped to 97 Euro per metric ton; that is, one Euro more than Colombian bananas.

Cecilio Jalil, a banana exporter and representative of the Banana Industry Association of Ecuador (Asisbane), commented that, since January, he started shipping his product to Italian buyers. He defines Italy as a demanding market which looks for certified organic products. They like Ecuadorian fruit because of its quality. Jalil explains that negotiations with his Italian client began in 2016. The signing of the agreement facilitated the process.

Of the 13 million tonnes that Asisbane exports, 40% go to the EU. Of that amount, 5% go to Italy. For this Association, however, it is considered a growing market. Currently, France remains its main buyer within the EU.

The showcasing of Ecuador's exportable supply at fairs in Europe has allowed more buyers to become familiar with it. Ullian explained that in the case of Italy, the Milan Expo 2015 was a great platform, in which Ecuador won the prize for the most innovative pavilion.

Publication date: 7/7/2017


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