Brazil to import bananas from Ecuador again

A little over a year has passed since Brazil, after almost two decades, authorized once again the entry of Ecuadorian bananas via the NO. 3 MAP norm of March 20, 2014, whereby imports were allowed. This was possible only after the intense diplomatic efforts made by the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry opened the Brazilian market, not only to bananas, but also to a wider range of products, such as shrimp, among others, according a statement made by the authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador.

It's worth noting that Ecuador is thinking about exporting a gourmet banana to this market, with a different size and calibre than the fruit that the country exports to the Southern Cone. According to Luis Valverde, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Ecuador, even though importers had started to have commercial contacts with Brazil since the market was re-opened, they have not finalized shipments due to the high demand from other markets.
The objections of the Brazilian producers are the same as they were two decades ago. The widespread fear among producers is that the re-opening of the market will lead to the entrance of diseases such as the banana moko and the black sigatoka in the country; the latter disease has some presence in Brazilian plantations.

Brazil is the third largest producer of bananas in the world with 7.5 million tons per year surpassed only by India and China. Its main producing areas are in São Paulo, Bahia, Santa Catarina, Minas Gerais, Pará, Pernambuco and Ceará. These areas are responsible for over 75% of Brazil's banana production.

According to Valley of Ribera's Rural Union, the banana sector generates more than two million direct and indirect jobs in Brazil. It is the only profitable activity that moves local and regional markets in some regions of Brazil. Just in Bahia, the sector generates more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in regions like Bom Jesus da Lapa, Irecê, New Point, and in Bajo Sur, where the city of Guimarães Wenceslao, the largest banana producer in the country, is located.

Besides the phytosanitary danger, the Brazilian producers say, the entry of the Ecuador banana will reduce their competitiveness, as producing a 20-kilo box of bananas in Brazil costs $11, while this same box costs $4 in Ecuador. Producers say they are not against imports, as in the case of wheat and temperate fruits, but the case of bananas is totally contradictory to them.

Source: Banana Export

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