Ecuador: Banana producers are concerned about El Niño's arrival

Gustavo Marún, president of the Regional Corporation of Ecuadorian Banana Producers, said that, despite winter being good for the banana sector, they were worried about El Niño's arrival. 

According to him, the sector is holding meetings with the mayors of Los Ríos, Guayas and El Oro to discuss irrigation systems in low areas and plan preventive actions so that the necessary measures are taken. 

He said that, given their location, the banana plantations in Puebloviejo, from Ventanas to Babahoyo, were the ones facing the most risk. For example, the Puebloviejo River is absolutely obstructed and they should start cleaning it, as well as all the estuaries that are a natural threat, so there is a faster flow of rainfall and banana plantations are affected less. 

Los Rios is the country's largest producer of bananas, both in area and productivity. Their supply's quality is as good as that of El Oro, which makes Ecuador the largest exporter of bananas in the world. AGROBAN's main concern is that Ecuador remains the world's largest exporter of bananas.
Threats and an agreement with the European Union 
If an agreement with the European Union isn't signed, 90 million boxes of bananas won't be traded. 

As the Panama Canal is three days away when compared to Costa Rica and Colombia, which are located on the Caribbean coast, the Banana Corporation sought new markets with a Chinese state-owned company in 2013. They managed to obtain a 6-containers per week sales contract, which would increase to 20 containers per week, depending on the fruit's quality. 

To date, China has promptly complied with payments. "Unfortunately," said Gustavo Marún, "last week there was a lack of coordination by CONTECON in the port so 3 containers, 50% of the fruit being exported, were not shipped on time because of a narcotics inspection that had been mistakenly programmed."

"Once the boxes are opened, the fruit checked and then packed again, the cold chain has been broken. Many times the product can no longer be marketed after it is inspected because bananas are a fragile and perishable product, and that entails losses for the producers," stated Marún.


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