Bananas are no longer the main source of non-oil export foreign exchange earnings for Ecuador. Internal and external conditions have forced it, in the last four years, to get lose its position. What is troubling the banana industry? Both producers and exporters agree on something: it is not about inefficiencies in the sector, but about an income problem.
For Franklin Torres, president of the National Federation of Banana Producers, the lack of a fair payment has prompted a disinvestment that makes the sector produce fewer and fewer hectares/year of bananas, which, in his opinion, slows down the volumes of shipments. “Before, we produced about 2,000 boxes and today what is calculated is 1,600 and that is a response to the low income that the farmer has,” he says.
For Torres, this bad pay is due to the manipulation of prices in the market, but the exporters assure that it responds to external and internal conditions that affect the sector and that have made the fruit more expensive year after year and less attractive for the consumer.