The demand for organic bananas in the world is increasing steadily, as can be seen in Ecuador's export figures. The orito or baby banana also registered a positive trend.
The demand for organic bananas in the world has been driven by the healthy trend that is gaining strength among consumers and the health requirements of different countries.
Ecuador, the main exporter of bananas in the world, is also proof of this new market reality. Ecuador ships an average of 310,000 cases of organic bananas each week.
Between January and October of last year, organic bananas accounted for 7.2 percent of all banana exports, achieving revenues of 241 million dollars, according to figures from Pro Ecuador.
The United States, the European Union, and Japan are the markets that demand this product the most. Banana farmers work on a daily basis so that their farms maintain production standards that allow them to maintain organic certification.
The San Miguel Corporation of Brazil, which is made up of 135 members that have a total of nearly 1,000 hectares devoted to this production, produces approximately 25,000 boxes of organic bananas each week, which are sold in the United States, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. "The advantage of this type of fruit is that its marketing is more stable and a prices are good all year, as the average price is nine dollars per carton," said Renato Herrera, the president of the corporation.
All of the associates' organic plantations are certified by recognized companies, such as Control Union and QCS, which guarantees that no chemical products were used in the production of the bananas.
In addition to organic certification, the farms have Global GAP, good agricultural and environmental practices, and Fair Trade certifications.
The corporation harvests the fruit 52 weeks a year, and produces and average of 35 to 40 boxes per week per hectare, achieving a productivity of 1,800 to 2,000 boxes per hectare per year.
Baby bananas on the rise
Another product that registers an encouraging trend is the orito banana, known in the world market as baby banana. Until 2016, exports of this fruit only amounted to 38 million tons, but in 2017 it had a big jump as exports amounted to nearly 405 million tons, due to an unusual demand from the United States.
In 2018, the market normalized but was still above the normal average. According to data from Pro Ecuador, Ecuador exported 122 million tons of baby bananas between January and October of last year.
One of the Ecuadorian companies that sells baby bananas is Exportadora del Sur, which exports this product to the Russian, European and Chinese markets.
"This product, which is demanded because it has a higher concentration of sugars, has been growing over the years. Due to its size and versatility, it is used in school lunches for children and for the elderly," stated Gino Pinargote, the company manager.
In the last five years Ecuadorian baby banana exports have amounted to more than 400 million dollars.