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Eduardo Ledesma, executive director of AEBE

Ecuador: The challenges of the banana sector in 2019

Eduardo Ledesma, the Executive Director of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE), spoke about the most fundamental aspects that will affect the banana sector in 2019.

Internal and external formality
This implies affiliating all banana workers to the Social Security system. The sector needs to achieve compliance with environmental and social aspects required by internal regulations and to obtain international certifications. "Unfortunately, in the field of certification, we are very far from achieving this objective. To achieve this, it's necessary to start doing this with small producers," said Eduardo Ledesma.

Improving productivity
Ecuador produces around 1,900 boxes of bananas per hectare, while other countries produce 3,000 to 4,000 boxes. However, this year the Hacienda Isabel de Agrícola Cañas, located in Los Rios, managed to produce a record 4,600 boxes of bananas per hectare.

Boosting the Brazilian market
The director of the AEBE said this was a political problem because, despite not having to pay any tariffs to enter the Brazilian market, the Ecuadorian bananas still couldn't enter that market. "Our banana seeks to enter an elitist market with a higher value so that it doesn't affect other markets." He also said that winning over this market was important for Ecuador because prices in the Southern Cone increased when they decreased in the European markets, due to the season. Thus, if the country manages to sell its fruits in Brazil, they will have more control and commercial stability.

Strengthening other markets
In 2017, the country exported 326 million boxes of bananas and this year it expects to export 330 million boxes. In Europe, the Ecuadorian banana only reaches eight countries; so its challenge is to reach the remaining markets in that continent.

Reforming the Banana Law
Although it is still being reviewed by the Assembly, Eduardo Ledesma believes that this law creates problems for the sector due to its complexity. "Having too many impositions to plant also makes it harder to export, which will allow other countries, such as Colombia and Mexico, to win our markets," he added.


Source: / Redacción Enfoque

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