A total of two million boxes of bananas are sent to Ukraine and Russia per week, mostly from Latin America. Given the current conflict involving both countries, the sector is worried that these bananas will be rerouted to Europe, leading to a surplus of bananas in that market.
Currently, there are several cargoes in the seas bound for Eastern Europe, St. Petersburg, and, until last week, Odessa. After the closure of Ukrainian ports, the ships were diverted to Constance (Romania) and Istanbul (Turkey). The next shipments to Russia could also be diverted due to non-payment or because transport insurance has become too expensive. If they do not find new outlets, these bananas would weigh directly on the Western European market, which could quickly cause prices to fall if the war continues.
At a rate of two million boxes per week, there will inevitably be a hard-to-sell surplus in a month, stated Denis Loeillet, an economic researcher specializing in the banana market at the French Center for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD). Some can be destroyed on the spot, others will inevitably be sold.
For the time being, prices have not fallen, but this won't last long because the banana market is very reactive: a few hundred thousand tons of surpluses would be enough to bring down the European market, estimated at six and a half million tons, Loeillet stated.
The situation is of particular concern to European banana producers - Martinica, Guadeloupe, the Canary Islands, and Madeira - who fear that this announced fall in prices will further weaken their industry.