The Ecuadorian banana sector achieved record banana export volumes and values in 2020, managing to sell more than 380 million boxes for 3.668 billion dollars. However, the international sales of this fruit have fallen at the beginning of 2021.
According to data from the Banana Marketing and Export Association (ACORBANEC), Ecuador exported 69.2 million boxes of bananas in January and February, i.e. almost 2 million boxes less than in the same period of last year. The main declines in sales were recorded in the Middle East (-37%), the United Kingdom (-32%), East Asia (-17%), and Russia (-8%).
According to Richard Salazar, the executive director of ACORBAEC, Ecuadorian banana exports have decreased because there has been a reduction in international demand.
"In large part, this is due to the economic problems of the buyer markets. Countries such as Algeria, Iran, and others in the Middle East have restricted banana import licenses to control the outflow of foreign currency," Salazar said, adding that Russia faced a similar situation.
In addition, he said, China is buying more bananas from neighboring countries, such as Cambodia and Vietnam, reducing its imports from America.
The European Union also registers a 5% decrease in its purchases from Ecuador. "It's important to highlight that Europe hasn't stopped buying from us to buy from another country, Europe has lowered its purchase level," the manager stated.
Other destinations have increased their import of Ecuadorian bananas. The United States increased its purchases by 25%, the countries of Eastern Europe purchased 33% more bananas, sales to the Southern Cone increased by 12%, and Africa purchased twice the number of boxes.
So far in 2021, the European Union continues to be the main destination for Ecuadorean bananas. It is followed by Russia, the United States, and the Middle East.