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Ricardo Torres, manager of FAST:
Spain: "The delay of stone fruit is good for banana demand and prices"Although traditionally, with the arrival of summer fruit in the market, Canary bananas are affected, "this year has been surprisingly different, according to the manager of FAST, which is one of the main producers and marketers of Canary bananas, with around 24 million kilos per year.
"We are selling bananas at historically high prices for this time of the year. The stone fruit and melon and watermelon campaigns have been delayed this year in Spain, and there will also be fewer volumes, leaving a market gap that, for now, has been partly filled by bananas," explains Ricardo Torres.
According to the producer and marketer, "it doesn't look like this trend will change for another two or three weeks. Sales are smooth and the storage chambers are quite empty," he adds.
African bananas increasingly similar to Canary bananas
The competition with bananas from other origins has continued to get tougher in Spain in recent years.
"African bananas are the ones gaining the most ground in Spain, as they are tariff-free and sold at very low prices. African producers manage to ship bananas that are increasingly similar to Canary bananas. While the lack of food safety certifications and commitments to social responsibility have stopped many Spanish retailers from buying African bananas, this could change in the short term, since African exporters are striving to obtain these certifications," warns Ricardo Torres.
"The demand for organic bananas is on the rise"
According to Ricardo Torres, the acreage devoted to organic bananas is expanding in the Canary Islands, as demand is on the rise.
"The demand is almost higher than the supply, and today almost all Spanish distribution chains already have an organic section. Compared to other products, there is a very small gap between organic and conventional banana prices. The former are only around 30-40 cents more expensive, which makes them attractive to consumers."
FAST sells a part of its production to marketers in the Peninsula, and also markets some seven million kilos directly in the Canary Islands. "We have automated ripening chambers and certifications such as ISO 14000, which we have obtained this year, and which no other banana company in the Canary Islands has. We are also very aware of social responsibility, which is why we have obtained the Canary Islands Human Resources award; something that is very difficult to achieve in the agricultural sector," he says.
FAST is also producing passion fruit and expanding its avocado acreage. For the latter, they soon hope to obtain a Global Gap certification.
For more information:
Sociedad Agraria de Transformación (FAST)
M: +34 670 428 141
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