Ecuador's message to the global banana community is clear: Fusarium is not just a pest; it is a lethal pandemic for bananas that currently has no solution and that threatens one of the most important industries for the Ecuadorian economy.
According to Ecuador's Central Bank (BCE), last year the banana sector generated more than $ 3.669 billion in sales abroad, accounting for 24.5% of total non-oil exports. However, its importance does not only lie in international exports, since the activity is closely linked with many other sectors: input suppliers, industries that manufacture plastic covers and fruit protectors, cardboard boxes, transport companies, containers, services logistics, ports, aerial fumigation against black sigatoka, generators of meristem plants for sowing and reseeding, exporters, customs, and certifying services, among others.
The Government has delegated to the COE (Committee of Emergency Operations) the responsibility of protecting the country from this plague, as its arrival would have a strong impact on the Ecuadorian economy. This is backed by data (it should be remembered last year the country exported 380 million boxes of bananas): for example, banana boxes account for 90% of the cardboard industry's turnover; the banana sector accounts for 50% of the input industry's sales; it also generates more than 6,700 weekly ground freights in the field of logistics, as trucks take containers to the ports on a daily basis, and 65% of the export port and shipping movement is generated by bananas.
In fact, five ports in Ecuador depend on this fruit. The most important ones are located in Guayaquil: Contecon, TPG (Terminal Portuario de Guayaquil), Bananapuerto (Dole) and DP World Posorja; Puerto Bolivar, which is managed by the Turkish group Yilport, in El Oro.
The banana sector also generates 275,000 direct and indirect jobs, and leaves $ 340 million in tax burden, according to the Marketing and Export Association.