Anaco Greeve starts expansion of banana ripening chambers with 15,000 boxes
Considerable shortages on banana market
While many banana ripeners have gone out of business over the years, Anaco & Greeve from Poeldijk, the Netherlands, has been continuously active with its banana ripening plant since 1976. The twenty ripening chambers each have the capacity to ripen 30,000 boxes of bananas every week. “Demand still increases every year. That’s why we want to expand the ripening chambers with 15,000 boxes in the coming year,” says manager Robert Greeve.
Robert still sees a future for the banana business, despite the fact that German supermarkets are starting to ripen their own bananas. “We’re both service provider and trader. Because we import about half of our own banana volume, we control the supply chain, and we go to final customers directly. Our customers are both wholesalers and supermarkets. We sell the ripened bananas to customers who can be reached within a day, and the green bananas are sold to the other customers.”
The banana market currently has considerable shortages. “This is due to a combination of factors. During the holidays, fewer bananas are shipped from their country of origin. Besides, Colombia already had shortages, and a strike was added to that, even fewer arrivals are planned for the coming two weeks because of that. Costa Rica doesn’t have much production either, and production countries such as Guatemala and Honduras have their own problems, so that prices are incredibly high,” Robert says. As a trend he mentions that banana supply from Mexico is on the rise. The volume of organic bananas,primarily from Ecuador, is also expanding, albeit gradually.
“It’s not easy to earn a profit in the banana trade. It’s all about mass. There might be few ripeners left, but plenty of bananas arrive in Europe,” the importer says. He says the fixed price of 99 cents for one kilo of bananas implemented by Dutch supermarket Jumbo a few years ago is very bad for the market. “Consumers now wrongly think bananas are a cheap product. However, when everyone in the chain has to earn money from bananas, consumer price is definitely more than 99 cents. The lower import tariffs might relieve some of the pressure. The difference is now about 10 cents per box, and when tariffs are lowered even more in 2021, it will be a bit more.”
Robert isn’t worried about the doom and gloom scenario that threatens the very existence of bananas due to the Panama disease. “It’s naturally something to be alert about, but 25 years ago, people were saying the same thing, and more and more bananas have been shipped to Europe since then. Besides, researchers are working on a solution. However, I do expect we’ll have more bad harvests due to climate change in the coming years.”
Publication date: 1/15/2018
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