Demand for bananas from Ecuador to China is increasing substantially this year with even more pre-orders ahead of time for the Chinese new-year in 2024. Marianela Ubilla, CEO of the Ecuadorian banana grower and exporter Agzulasa, and chairperson of the banana industry association AEBE, says they are happy with the increased interest from the Chinese market.
“Regarding the future, the Chinese are demanding more volume for the coming months, especially November and December. These are the shipments for receiving in February for the Chinese new-year in 2024. I can say that for next year they will demand more volume from Ecuador as source, which will allow our country to reach more than the current 3,6% export volumes; based on one of the biggest importers that requested 50% more volume for 2023,” explains Ubilla.
She is impressed by the ability of Chinese buyers who she describes as: “The Chinese importer customers are the best in the world. They are following the traceability of where the bananas come from, I mean the code number of the farm. So, some of them came with the code number that they want, especially for the good quality (sizes, without scars or damages) and as well that they are able to recognize the code number with the longest shelf life of the fruit. I can say that Chinese importers are more technical than other clients in the world, at the same time they are very commercially focused.”
Ubilla comments on her recent visit to the shortened Asia Fruit Logistica held in Hong Kong. “I felt it was a very crowded show, compared with last year in Thailand and the other previous AFL exhibitions. The booths were bigger and better decorated. For our company Agzulasa, it is a very important exhibition, because many Chinese clients know our best quality and good reputation. This allowed many past clients who came to say hello and find the opportunity to restart the relations with us. Other current clients came to increase the orders and ask for more products. I noticed high demand and it will become even higher in the coming months, because some of them mentioned about the Philippines shortage and increase of the Chinese fruit consumption in the country.”
"In general I think it has been a key moment of being present in this exhibition, because we have good expectations with the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between Ecuador and China. The shortage of bananas in most of the supplying countries enhances the fame and good name earned by the Ecuadorian banana industry," concludes Ubilla.
Now she looks forward to attend Fruit Attraction in Madrid early in October. Visit Ubilla and her team in Hall 4 stand C06.