Just like last year, the market currently has bananas from Martinique and Guadeloupe, as well as from Africa and America (Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala and Panama). “The bananas from the French West Indies are sold mostly in the Paris basin, while all the bananas from Africa and America are sold mostly in provincial France,” explains François Moran of Tropibana.
“At the moment, there is a little less offer of bananas from Martinique and Guadeloupe. On the other hand, the offer from America and Africa on the market is abundant. Additionally, consumption of the fruit has lowered on the Parisian market at the moment, which means that the price of American and African bananas is about 20% lower. However, the price of the bananas from the West Indies is stable,” explains François.
The banana is competing with summer fruits this year
The month of November rarely corresponds to a dynamic period of consumption for the banana. But this year, the mild temperatures seem to have accentuated this phenomenon. “The weather got mild again this month, reaching 50-60°F. This means that the consumption of French summer fruits like peaches, nectarines and grapes extended over a longer period, to the detriment of bananas, oranges or even clementines.”
And it is not likely to get any better with the holidays approaching, when customers prefer to consume other products, like exotic fruits, rather than bananas.
Social events impacting the market
But the temperatures and the season are not the only factors responsible for the lower banana consumption. The social events happening in France continue to impact trade. “We did -30% compared to previous years because of the social unrest this month. The mobilization of farmers in the Paris region is also likely to affect sales at the MIN of Rungis, pushing wholesalers to pack up a few hours earlier than usual.”
According to François, the succession of social actions has had heavy consequences on the fruit and vegetable sector. “One of my employees is about to leave the company, and for now, I decided not to replace him. I am waiting to see how things will evolve. It is really catastrophic for the sector. And we expect some losses once again for December. We will then start the new year in a challenging market with lower margins. The 2019 production suffered a lot this year and I hope that 2020 will be better.”