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Europe: Banana trade has changed

The banana market in Europe is changing. The trade has become much more structured, with supermarkets having more influence than ever before. And these supermarkets have changed their strategy, looking to import the goods themselves. Currently, importers agree on quantities with their business partners. This also applies to the big banana multinationals like Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte. The whole banana trade is more strictly registered, suppliers getting more and more the role of service providers. The same goes for cultivation: more structured and more regulated.

Globalisation is taking effect. Western Europe, with the exception of traditional ACP banana countries like France, UK and Spain, has become a major import market and Central America a major export area. The trade has disappeared. The selling prices are fixed. There is no room for the cowboys of yesteryear. The Fair Trade prices are sound and producers no longer put up with unreasonable prices.

In Eastern Europe more and more bananas are sold under a private label, causing the major brands to slowly disappear. Russia took control of her own import. As a direct result, companies like Sunways, JFC and Sorus went under. Living large has spelled doom for these importers.

Export from Ecuador has decreased markedly. The country is still plagued by the Black Sigatoka disease. In addition, minimum export prices have been established, which are strictly controlled by the government, so there is much less tampering going on in the sector.

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