Ecuadorian plantains gain more and more ground in the Chilean market. Maria Auxiliadora Rodriguez, president of the Association of Plantain Exporters (Asoexpla), stated during the celebration of the first international summit of the trade union, which was held in Guayaquil, that Chilean demand has generated annual growth of up to 30%; which demonstrates the potential that the industry still has. Last year, plantain exports (both fresh and processed) to that destination amounted to $200 million.
In Ecuador, the crop is distributed in 21 provinces and covers a planted area of 128,861 hectares which produces 763,455 tons of plantain a year. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, six provinces concentrate 83.3% of the volume harvested in the country, led by Manabi with 40%. 20% of the plantain supply is exported. The US is the main destination, with a 70% share of total exports, followed by the European Union with 17% and Chile with 10%.
Eduardo Manrique, director of the guild, stated that this summit, which brought together producers and exporters from 200 countries, aims to project improvements and opportunities for growth. At the regional level, Ecuador remains the leading exporter of plantain. However, Colombia is starting to be a strong competitor for Ecuador, and Peru has also begun to export.
Edmundo Uribe, who founded Tropical Fruit Export almost two decades ago, spoke about this opening opportunity and the sector's shortcomings. Last year, he sold 1 million boxes of plantain, which led him to become the local industry's leading exporter. However, he knows he could do much more if there were a supply of technically processed plantain in the country. Producers continue to grow plantain in the traditional way, with low phytosanitary controls, which generates many quality problems and becomes a barrier to continue entering other demanding markets.
"We have managed to achieve what we have achieved because we reached an agreement with some 200 producers with better-kept plantations." This allowed him to take the product to prestigious buyers like Walmart in different countries, such as the United States and Chile, or to reach unconventional markets such as Japan with his offer.