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Paraguayan banana exports fell by 90% in the first quarter

Between January and March of this year, Paraguay only exported 1,113 tons of bananas to countries in the region, i.e. a whopping 90% less than the 12,577 tons of bananas it exported in the first quarter of last year. Specifically, according to the data from the Central Bank of Paraguay, the country exported 1,091 tons of bananas to Argentina and just over 20 tons to Uruguay.

This decrease in shipments translates into losses of more than 4.6 million dollars.

The leaders of the Paraguayan Chamber of Bananas and Pineapple (Capabap) said this drop was due to the 70% drop in production caused by last year's drought and frost. They also said they didn't expect a rapid recovery because the intense rains this season are also affecting the cultivation area.

The sector denounced that the situation is being aggravated by the entry of contraband fruits, which threatens the price that can be used for recovery.

Smuggling benefits no one
The union estimates that the price of a box of bananas should range between 100,000 Guaranis and 120,000 Guaranis to compensate for their loss, but the illegal entry of fruits from abroad is pressing prices down.

Banana imports are currently prohibited. However, smugglers in the south of the country enter from Argentina Ecuadorian bananas, especially through the cities of Encarnacion, Pilar, and Ayolas, while the Brazilian cargoes arrive in Asuncion.

Producers exhibited photographs showing how the smuggled bananas are openly sold at retail outlets, although their strongest presence can be found in wholesale markets.

The Capabap warned that, in addition to the economic damage, the smuggled bananas pose a phytosanitary risk to the country, as they could be the gateway for the black Sigatoka and other diseases to enter the country.



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