Even though European banana imports have experienced an extraordinary growth of more than 20% in the last decade, the banana sector is concerned with the fall in prices.
According to the executive director of the Banana Marketing and Export Association (Corbana), Richard Salazar Veloz, who attended the International Banana Congress that was held in Miami, USA, all the key suppliers for Europe increased their sales. Ecuador increased them by 17%, to 1.6 million tons in 2018, compared to the average of 2015 to 2017 (although this refers to the first quarter of 2018).
Colombia has grown by 4% to 1.4 million tons. And Costa Rica, 13%, to 1.2 million tons. However, there are three countries that have substantially increased their production: Honduras (111%), Nicaragua (92%) and Guatemala (60%).
This situation, according to Salazar, has helped Europe increase per capita consumption to almost 13 kilos per year, but the excess supply has also led to a decline in prices.
Last year's average price, 11.90 euro, represents a considerable decrease compared to the maximum 14.06 euro observed in 2015, and is below the price obtained each year in the last decade. Although some production flows have occasionally reduced yields, the main factor has been the discount in supermarkets.
Organic products could be an area to offer better value to producers, since bananas of this type now have a 10% share of the grocery market in Europe. However, their prices are under pressure and in some supermarkets they are being sold at the same price as conventional fruit.