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Ecuador: Lower temperatures reduce banana production
Paul Gonzalez, the president of the Machala Agricultural Center, said producers were prepared to face the cold season that has been affecting banana production in El Oro for a few days.
The banana production has been affected by the light rains and the intense cold that surround Machala and other cantons of the province. So far, producers estimate, there has been a 20% in production, a number that is expected will increase.
"Right now temperatures have dropped to about 22ºC, which is an extremely low temperature that can affect the physiology of any living being, especially of bananas, which need plenty of light and high temperature," he said.
Producers are ready to face this weather event with foliar inputs that strengthen the plantations; however, this doesn't mean their production and economy won't decline.
El Oro currently has around 47 thousand hectares of banana, which allows producers to produce more than 1,600,000 boxes of fruit weekly. However, if the low temperatures continue, the production could decrease to 1,400,000 boxes per week.
"The banana needs a minimum of 28ºC to be able to maintain a stable production. According to our calculations production has decreased by 20% so far," he said.
Production could continue to fall if the weather continues this way. However, this change in temperatures has led to a small unusual production peak, which isn't normal at this time, but that gives producers a little peace, because it would allow them to supply that 20 to 35% production decrease.
This is due to climatic factors registered last year and this extra production could last another four weeks, after which production will fall and remain at its normal levels, said Gonzalez, who is also a member of the Negotiation Table for the commercialization of bananas.
As a result, banana producers expect there will be a decrease in production until November and, even though they are taking measures, they know there's little that they can do against the weather. Thus, they are opting to take advantage of the additional production that will last until mid-July, to meet the market's demand.
Publication date: 7/2/2018
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