Organic banana buyers and consumers seem to better understand supply problems

“A huge shortage of bananas continues to be the main concern in the industry,” says Mayra Velazquez de León with Organics Unlimited who ship organic bananas. It is a worldwide issue that is caused by adverse weather conditions in the main banana growing countries in Latin America. Central and South America are being hit with heavy rains, making it difficult to harvest. Costa Rica is particularly hit hard. “We are sourcing the majority of our bananas in Mexico and a lingering cold front is holding the growth of our fruit with a reduction in supplies as a result.” 



Not enough product to fill vessels
“About a month into it everybody started to struggle to make the volume for contracts,” Velazquez de León continued. “There is not enough product to fill the vessels.” Last week, she sent out a letter to her customers to inform them of the situation. “Interestingly, buyers and consumers seem to be more understanding now than a few years ago. Especially on the organics side, people realize that Mother Nature is not always good to us.”



Please buy me, I am still good
Not only volumes, but also quality of the product is impacted. The weather circumstances make it difficult to harvest and the exterior quality is impacted as a result. “Here and there, we see scars on the product. It’s either that, or no banana,” said Velazquez de León. When this situation happened a couple of years ago, some grocery stores put signs up next to the banana display, saying: ‘Please buy me, I am still good’. “It was a good way of telling the consumer what was going on and it was also a way to support the grower. Organic banana growers tend to be smaller scale. They don’t have as much breathing room as big companies have. Their production levels and quality of product are down, and they really need our support. So, don’t be discouraged by the exterior of the banana.”

“I am always looking for the bright side, but I don’t think we will see a big change until May to be honest,” concluded Velazquez de León.



For more information:
Mayra Velazquez de León
Organics Unlimited
Tel: 619-710-0658

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