In almost the first 11 months of the year, the islands have sent 341.3 million kilos of fruit to other European countries and Morocco, i.e. 30% or 78.3 million kilos more than in the same period of the previous year. According to producers from the Canary Islands, average prices in 2022 were 'very good', much better than the 'acceptable' prices achieved in 2021, after the eruption of the volcano in the island of La Palma in September and the destruction or structural damage to more than 200 hectares under cultivation.
By week 45 of 2022, the archipelago had only shipped 263 million kilos to the Peninsula and a few other countries. The scenario in 2023 is much different.
The difference in exports between one year and another is enormous, even with the withdrawal of nearly 22 million kilos that was carried out up until week 43 to contain the fall in prices in the Peninsula, the main destination of the island's fruit. In this market, the Canarian supply competes with the bananas imported from America and Africa which, according to official data from the Spanish Government Customs, has increased its presence in the market.
In 2023, Canarian farmers have been paid "ruinous" prices (according to some operators). In many cases -discounting all marketing expenses- the payments per kilo marketed received by local banana producers in their bank accounts do not cover the production costs of the crop, not even taking into account the direct aid from Posei, which stands at 0.30 euro per kilo, which are public funds deducted from an annual financial statement of 141 million euro (100% Community) and with payments to harvesters per semester.
Taking into account the production volume achieved in 2023 and what the exports achieved so far this year, the island's banana sector expects to surpass this year the threshold of fruit marketed in 2017 (local and export market), when it reached 421.3 million kilos.
The fall in prices in the Peninsula has to do with the powerful increase in supply due to weather conditions in 2023. There was more heat so the harvest started earlier when there was lower demand. In addition, the farms were more productive and there was an increase in the cultivated area. The production area increased by 53.4 hectares over 2022, according to official data from Asprocan. All of these new areas are located in the islands of Tenerife, the main producer, and Gran Canaria.
The powerful increase in supply in 2023 takes place at a time when La Palma still hasn't recovered more than 200 hectares of production that were lost because of the volcano. The intention is for them to return to cultivation, and then the total supply could go up.
Prices were also affected by other issues including the increasingly aggressive competition from bananas, the decrease in demand for bananas from the islands because of the heat, and the existence of cheaper seasonal fruit, among other things.