Black Sigatoka is causing considerable problems in Ecuador this year, seriously depleting banana export volumes.
Hoover Encalada, of Hacienda Rio Negro (DONHES) says around 30,000 ha of cultivation have been totally wiped out.
"On top of that," he says. "There are another 20,000 ha that are infected with the disease to one extent or another."
What this means is there simply is not enough produce to maintain existing levels. Hoover says, in September 2011 Ecuador was exporting 4 million cartons per week, this year we are down to 3 million cartons per week."
Of course this is having an impact on the prices. In week 36 prices paid to growers started at $6.50 per carton, but were climbing. Now they have reached $8 per carton and are still rising."