As a result of the decrease in Ecuador's supply of banana for export, due to a drop in temperatures at the beginning of the year, last week the price of the spot box (out of contract) increased to $9.50, $10.20, and even $10.30 dollars, which is much higher than the official price for sales by contract decreed by the Ministry of Agriculture; 6.30 dollars.
Some banana producers believe that this price level will be maintained for 10 to 15 weeks, because the fruit currently in production is starting with good quality, which will ensure a good return.
Ecuador exports about 350 million boxes of bananas a year, accounting for nearly 35% of the world supply. Between January and December 2019, banana exports increased by 1.8% in volume and 2.5% in value standing at 6.2 million tons and 2.963 million FOB dollars, according to the latest report of Ecuador's Central Bank (ECB). However, according to the producers, this marginal growth demonstrates that productivity is stagnant and that there is a lack of government policies.
However, the high prices were not achieved in the destination markets, but in the domestic market, where the lack of supply has forced Ecuadorian trading companies to pay much more.
Ecuador officially has approximately 180,000 registered hectares devoted to this production, but there are those who estimate that there can be another 60,000 non-legalized or unregistered hectares.
The market for this fruit is diverse. Ecuador reaches all countries, the problem is the tariffs it pays to reach them; such as in China and the Middle East. The signing of trade agreements is key to increasing the participation of the country and the margins of exporters.
According to Kleber Sigüenza, a producer, and Richard Salazar, the director of Acorbanec, Russia and China are spot markets that have paid better prices than that paid for contracted fruit (as in the case of Germany).