With 2018 almost finished, the unfair pricing policy of bananas from third countries continues in the Spanish market, accentuated in this final part of the year.
In the wholesale "green" banana market, the import market in which banana producers' organizations of the Canary Islands market their fruit, the importation of bananas from third countries (in America and Africa) is offered for prices ranging between 0.40 and 0.50 €/kg. These prices, which have remained stable throughout the year 2018, stand clearly below the production costs, and significantly away from the average prices in the rest of Europe.
In fact, the "green" bananas imported from third countries have maintained an average price in the rest of the EU that is between 60% and 80% (0.65-0.70 €/kg) higher than the one offered in Spain, which is a clear sign of sales being made at a loss, specifically in Spain.
The price monitoring mechanism established by the Association of European Banana Producers (APEB) revealed that the confluence of several banana production origins, together with a growing reduction in the price of its exports to the European Union due to the reduction of tariffs, as well as the productive reduction of the Canary Islands as a result of the weather, is being exploited by producers from other countries in order to exert more pressure on the bananas from the Canary Islands. This is achieved with the regular entry of large volumes of fruit that is sold constantly for prices below the production costs.
Also, while the average retail price of bananas in the rest of Europe has remained stable, oscillating between 1.6 and 1.9 €/kg, in Spain the price of imported bananas has stayed on average below 1 €/ kg in some of the main chains.
Not only is the price of "green" fruit and that of retail fruit favorable to the interests of imported bananas. To this we must add that in 2018, the distribution margin applied to Canary bananas has been on average between 30% and 60% higher than that applied to imported bananas.
In the third quarter, the retail price of bananas from the Canary Islands has reached 2.56 €/kg, compared to 1.85 €/kg in 2017. This is an unjustified 40% increase which has caused the market to contract, despite the fact that it had grown at a rate of 2.7% in 2017. This year, the sales volume of bananas from all origins in the third quarter fell by 3.3% compared to the same quarter of the previous year.
Canary bananas are demanded by consumers for their better taste and characteristics. They are protected by a European quality label, and their sale plays a key role in a category that represents 12% of the large retail's fruit sales.
Consequently, Canary banana producers are concerned about the constant pressure that Spanish consumers are under to get them to purchase bananas from third countries, setting price levels that could destroy the Canary productive fabric in the long term. The fact is that these prices ignore any objective criterion when it comes to social or environmental sustainability, either in Spain or in the countries of origin of the imported bananas.