While things are under control, and other companies are able to take over the supply from the 'banned" companies, should things escalate and a total ban be implemented, no other market can absorb the volume of bananas currently taken by Russia. According to Ing. Richard Salazar, executive director of Ecuador’s Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec): "If it were to reach the extreme of a total closure of the market, there would be no market that could absorb that amount of fruit, that is 1,400,000 boxes of bananas per week."
However, he says the Ecuadorian authorities are working on the issue. "We hope that with the technical response that has been given by AGROCALIDAD, we will be able to overcome this impasse."
On Monday the official notification was received from the Federal Veterinary Control Service and Russia's Phytosanitary (Rosselkhoznadzor) on the request to suspend banana export certification of five companies.
Salazar says "It is important to note that Russia represents, as a country, the largest buyer of our bananas and represents 21% of all Ecuador's exports, totalling 75.1 million boxes by 2023. These five companies account for 25% of exports to Russia. The rest of the more than 55 companies exporting to Russia are still eligible to export. If this suspension of the five companies is maintained, it will generate complications due to the contracts to be served by their customers. However, the rest of the companies could meet that demand. There is not enough exportable production in the other banana producing and exporting countries to meet that demand from Russia."
The Banana Cluster of Ecuador noted in a statement, that banana producers and exporters are committed to compliance with the demands of the different global destinations to which this fruit is exported, this includes Russia. "Ecuador has a protocol developed jointly with Russia that producers have been complying with. The Ecuadorian banana sector is always willing to receive annual control audits from the Russian national phytosanitary protection organization, demonstrating total transparency and commitment to one of our largest markets for banana exports."
The Cluster made it clear that the humpback fly mentioned by Russia in the sudden ban is not an agricultural pest. "It is important to mention that the humpback fly is not related to any stage of banana cultivation in our country and that, according to the pest definition established in ISPM 5, it is not considered an agricultural pest either."
Referring to the millions of boxes exported to Russia weekly the Cluster states: "It implies that this market generates around $757 million a year in foreign currency that enters the national economy. In addition, 25,000 workers nationwide work on the plantations, that is dedicated to this destination, which is especially relevant for the country's small producers. We are sure that in the technical and diplomatic sphere our authorities will find a prompt solution to this situation."