The weather and the ash spewed by the recent eruption of the Sangay volcano will affect Ecuador's banana supply in the coming months.
According to banana producers from Los Rios, the cold weather that is still affecting several areas of the province, the torrential rains there are in the country, and the recent activity of the volcano have significantly lowered the supply of bananas, affecting the cost that exporters must pay for Ecuadorian fruit. In fact, the price of a box of spot bananas in Los Rios, which last week stood at $6.20 in contract sales, increased to $11 this week.
The ash eruption of the Sangay, which has fallen on the fields of the country's coast, will have an effect on the productivity of the plantations, while the recovery of the areas flooded by the rains in Los Rios and in the province of Guayas could take up to a year.
The decrease in production is already noticeable in Los Rios, where the bagging of banana bunches has decreased by 30 to 40%, which implies that less fruit will be harvested in the coming weeks.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, 769 hectares of banana crops, especially from small and medium-sized producers, have been affected so far. 49.15% of this area is in Urdaneta, 20.41% in Babahoyo, and the remaining areas are in Ventanas, Los Rios, El Guabo, Pasaje, and the province of El Oro.
According to exporters, these numbers are provisional and they could increase, given the current weather conditions. In addition, more rains are expected in the coming days, which could exacerbate the problem.