The Ecuadorian banana industry, which is currently facing new challenges, also has to fight against some preconceived ideas.
The price drop in Germany, where two supermarkets have reduced their purchases from Ecuador because their exporters do not accept being paid 0.80 and 1 dollars less per box, revives discussions about the commercial aspects of the most desirable fruit in the world. The sector is conditioned by various ideas that need to be explained, including:
The country must diversify markets. The market is already diverse, the Ecuadorian fruit reaches all markets. The problem is the tariffs paid to reach them, such as in China and the Middle East. The signing of trade agreements is key.
Added value is needed. The market demands a fresh product. According to Kleber Sigüenza, former president of the Chamber of Agriculture and banana producer; 99% of the bananas are consumed fresh.
Certifications help producers achieve better prices. False. Almost all the fruit, even the organic produce, is being paid at the same price. Certifications sometimes guarantee access in some of the markets but do not guarantee a better price.
The signing of contracts guarantees good prices. Both Sigüenza and Richard Salazar of Acorbanec have said it: Russia and China are spot markets that have paid better prices than the contracted fruit (as in the case of Germany).
There is no research. This is also false. There is research, but it is conducted by the private sector. For example, there are substantial improvements in soil management, lumbiculture, automatic weighing, different aerial applications. Unfortunately, there isn't a state policy to research bananas.