Despite the global pandemic, Uniban, Colombia's main banana and plantain exporting and marketing company increased exports in the first quarter of 2020. In this period, the company exported 15.3 million boxes of bananas and one million boxes of boxes of plantain. This means the company's exports increased by 20% and 13% over the previous year, respectively.
“In 2019 Uniban exported 35.4 million boxes of bananas from Uraba and Magdalena (1.4 million boxes less than in 2018). That decrease was mainly due to weather conditions that limited the availability of the fruit,” stated Juan Luis Cardona, the president of the company. "Uniban exported 2.5 million boxes of plantain worth 30.8 million dollars. The company also exported 4.7 million kilos of pineapples, which is equal to 399,760 boxes and 5.3% more than in the same period of the previous year.”
"This year we expect to export 44.7 million boxes of bananas and 3.3 million boxes of bananas. We also expect to export about 1,800 tons of plantain chips," Cardona added.
According to Cardona, more than 400 direct and indirect banana producers in Uraba and Magdalena market their fruit with Uniban (which has more than 3,200 hectares of its own banana). Nearly 2,400 producers export their plantain via the company.
Cardona also said that the demand for the product continued strongly in all markets since the health crisis began in Colombia. "There has been a change in the channels through which it is supplied. There has been a decrease in consumption in schools, restaurants, and other establishments that are closed, but consumption has increased in houses or places of isolation. These are supplied through the chains.” "Exports continue but there have been abrupt changes in their dynamics because the consumption patterns in the different countries are determined by the measures taken by each country."
Juan Luis Cardona stressed that the company has implemented a biosecurity protocol to guarantee the safety of all its workers and to continue offering quality fruit to its customers.