So far banana producers have sold more than 62,834 quintals of bananas worth around RD $11 million to the Ministry of Agriculture, as part of the State's solution to find a market for this product, which had difficulties to be exported, especially to European countries.
Julio Cesar Estevez, the executive director of the Dominican Association of Banana Producers (Adobanano), said that, despite the current situation, banana producers had a positive outlook on things, as the price of the fruit in the local market had increased and ranges between 150 and 200 pesos per quintal.
"Before the Ministry of Agriculture began purchasing it, prices ranged between 60 and 80 pesos per quintal. In addition, buyers are visiting us so that in November we can make contracts for 2020," he said.
In December, the FAO had warned: "Caribbean exports are estimated to fall to 177,000 tons in 2017 - a 54% decrease over 2016 - due to serious production interruptions related to the climate in the Dominican Republic, which accounts for approximately 98% of the region's exports."
According to the FAO, "banana production in the Dominican Republic was particularly affected by the strong winds and floods caused by Hurricane Irma, which hit the Caribbean in September 2017 and, according to reports, destroyed about 50% of the country's banana crops."
The Government promised to allocate, through the Ministry of Agriculture, more than RD $100 million to the purchase of the surplus of bananas in the current production. It committed to acquire some 16.4 million units of the item, in order to distribute them to hospitals, the various agencies of the Ministry of Defense, and other government entities.
On a global level
At the global level, the FAO stated that, after two consecutive years of sustained growth, world exports of bananas, excluding plantains, would reach 18.1 million tons in 2017. "This would represent an important recovery with respect to the fall of exports in 2015, when volumes decreased to 16.7 million tons."
They highlighted that exports from Latin America and the Caribbean in 2017 will increase by 4% thanks to an estimated 10% growth in Ecuador and Colombia, two of the four main exporters in the region.
"The first round of negotiations, consultations, and exchanges to fix banana volumes and prices may begin at the end of November," said the president of Adobanano, Salvador Estevez.