The global market for bananas has experienced a number of shocks: some media outlets are even musing on an imminent complete disappearance of the fruit. Also, banana prices are high everywhere.
The average price of bananas jumped the most in Russia – one and a half times, and now they are sold on the Russian wholesale market at $ 1.44/kg average. At the same time, only in the Central Asia, where prices are traditionally high due to its logistical remoteness, bananas are more expensive than in the Russian Federation. Bananas are now offered on average at $ 1.57/kg and $ 1.99/kg in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, respectively.
Meanwhile, bananas in Belarus are in average 25% more expensive than a year earlier (on average $ 1.31/kg), and in Poland and Georgia, prices for bananas increased by an average of 21%. Prices have increased the least in Moldova, Ukraine and Tajikistan – only by 9% in the Moldovan market and by 6% each in Ukraine and Tajikistan.
What is driving banana prices up in the whole region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia? EastFruit suggests analyzing the situation in Ecuador, a key supplier of bananas both in the global market as a whole, and in almost every market of the countries monitored.
There were severe social protests in Ecuador in the fall of 2019, that the government even had to move the capital to another city, and the country was simply paralyzed. A few months later, the COVID-19 pandemic begun and literally devastated the country, putting it on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. As a result, according to the local Central Bank, cited by the BBC, the country’s economy fell by 8% in 2020.
The country’s plummeting economy, the rapid spread of COVID-19, as well as a sharp decline in spot prices for bananas due to weakening global demand in 2020, have not helped the banana industry in Ecuador. In addition, the quality and export of Ecuadorian bananas were hit hard by the eruption of the Sangay volcano in September, which repeated in March 2021. As a result, after the record export of bananas in 2020, the exports from Ecuador fell again in the first months of 2021.