Argentina: Hail causes significant damage to the banana sector

Panfilo Ayala, of Argentina's Agrarian Federation, spoke about the damage that the hail caused to the banana sector and about the low prices that the market offers producers.

Last Friday a strong storm followed by an intense hail affected six of the 17 colonies located in Laguna Naineck, specifically in the southern and eastern sector, which is devoted to producing banana.

"The hail caused significant damage, turning plants over, throwing the production to the ground, as the bananas are ready to be harvested. The hail not only hit the fruit but also affected the plants. The fruit is so sensitive that it was practically destroyed," he said.

Some producers lost 30% of their production, while others lost 20 to 40%, he added. This is an unfortunate event that affected small producers, which was already facing losses due to a lack of commercialization of their products and the low price of bananas in the market.

"The harvest has already started, and the average prices range from 20 to 30 pesos a box of 22 to 25 kilos, which doesn't even cover production costs. That is to say, producers are being paid one peso per kilo, which is nothing when compared to the 20 pesos per kilo that consumers are paying in the market," he stated.

This distortion in prices harms producers as production costs, including the operational cost of marketing, such as the fruit's packaging without accessories costs 30 pesos. This disparity is recorded in all food products as, for example, producers of cassava, potatoes, and zucchini are being paid a maximum of 60 pesos for a 30-kilogram bag.

"The distortion is even stronger in bananas. In some cases the difference in what is offered with what is paid has reached 2000%, which really affects producers and makes it impossible to sustain the production demanded by the markets, as there are many technical recommendations to obtain a good production," he said.


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