The Ecuadorian banana sector demonstrated its resilience capacity in 2020, growing by 5.6% despite the issues brought by the global health crisis. However, as its representatives expressed at a virtual press conference on Tuesday, it continues to work to broaden its commercial horizons, especially in Asia.
"The European Union continues to be our largest market, followed by Russia and the United States. Meanwhile, Asia is decreasing," said Jose Antonio Hidalgo, representative of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE). In the first quarter of this year, exports to the Asian market decreased by almost 28% over the same period of the previous year.
"The sector should focus on building a stronger relationship with the East. Part of our challenge is to achieve trade agreements with Japan, Korea, and China," Hidalgo stated.
China is a country with great potential. The Chinese consume 60 kilos of fruit per capita per year, 60% of which is imported, mainly by the middle class, which amounts to a market of 700 million people.
In addition, the country is one of the few economies that is expected will grow this year and the Ecuadorian banana sector wants to be prepared to increase exports. That's why the sector has asked the next government, which will be headed by Guillermo Lasso, to assume a more aggressive foreign policy starting May to increase markets in Asia, and also through the Pacific Alliance.
At the moment, the Multi-Party Agreement with the EU has been beneficial for the industry, with 35% of the share of the Community market which translates into 104 million boxes exported in the last quarter.
"We have consolidated a unique leadership strategy in the Latin American banana industry. We improved our competitiveness with the EU, apply green policies, and from the farm to the consumer policies," said Juan Jose Pons, coordinator of the Banana Cluster.
This group has managed to bring together unions from countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia, which together represent about 65% of global fruit production, according to a statement from the banana organizations.
The conglomerate, which brings together 60% of Ecuador's banana production, recently held an event called Banana Day aimed at informing the international community about the latest advances in the use of pesticides, producer and consumer responsibility, and the measures taken against new diseases, such as Fusarium (FocR4T).
Source: Efe / swissinfo.ch