The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) convened the first meeting to try to reach a consensus between the different parts of the banana sector on the price that will govern fruit exports in 2023. The first meeting was held last Monday and, since there was no agreement, the MAG arranged a second meeting for next Monday. However, the Ministry stated, that if there is no consensus, the Ministry will set the minimum support price of the box and the FOB referential price based on the arguments presented by each of the sectors.
According to Franklin Torres, president of the National Federation of Banana Producers of Ecuador (Fenabe), the production sector proposed that the price of the box be increased to 7.76 dollars, which would be based on the production cost plus a 10% profit and would bring the FOB value to 11.18 dollars.
According to Torres, 56.5% of this price would be used to cover labor costs, 31.8% to pay for direct materials and inputs for the production of the fruit, and 11.7% to cover the services and food of the working population.
Meanwhile, the exporting sector preferred not to disclose its price proposal. According to Richard Salazar, executive president of Ecuador's Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec), the exporting sector prefers not to disclose this information until the scheme and the new price are negotiated and fixed to avoid giving any competitive advantages to Ecuador's competition, especially the Latin American countries.
"We must have a competitive price to be able to compete against Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama, which are sending their products to the different destinations we send them, especially Europe and the United States," he said. We must be consistent with the community, the global crisis, global super-inflation, and currency devaluations such as the euro that cause products to become more expensive for international buyers, he added.
Salazar said they aspire to the new price of 2023 to include these aspects, which will be highlighted in the negotiations they will hold starting in October with their customers abroad.
Jose Antonio Hidalgo, the executive director of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE), said a reference for the new price should be the current FOB price in Costa Rica, which stands at 8.36 dollars.
However, according to the newspaper El Universo, off the record sources have stated that the exporters were proposing the price for 2023 be set at $5.92, which would represent a FOB value of $8.08. This is lower than the current price.