The performance of Ecuador’s banana sector has allowed the country to be the world’s leading exporter of this fruit. In addition, the country achieved a 19% growth in exports between 2016 and 2020. What are the keys to the success and constant growth of this industry?
In recent years, real average prices were above the prices decreed by the central government. This has led to an increase in new plantings and to the renewal or maintenance of existing and registered hectares.
During 2020 the spot prices were below 4 dollars. However, in the final months of the year, the box of bananas was quoted above 7 dollars.
There’s been an increase in new banana plantings, especially in the province of Los Rios. This growth, which is added to the renovations of the plantations, has a direct influence on exports, allowed the country to export 380.4 million boxes of bananas in 2020 compared to the 357 million it exported in 2019, according to statistics of the Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec).
Many national and multinational exporting companies buy the product from the producers; 100 companies buy 91.6% of the boxes that are placed in international markets.
Dole (Ubesa), Reybanlac, Frutadeli, Comersur, and Agzulasa, account for 29.81% of all shipments, according to Acorbanec.
The actors in the chain (producers, exporters, suppliers, Government, financial entities) adapt to the changes demanded by the markets and consumers. That’s what happened, for example, during the critical months of the pandemic.
The rise in demand, especially in the European Union (+9%), Algeria, the Middle East (21%), and Eastern Europe (12%) had a strong influence, as Ecuador is a traditional supplier of these markets.
The sector’s growth has been favored by the dredging of the access channel to the ports made it possible for larger ships to arrive, the UC Davis report on the sustainability of the sector, and the reform that allows legalizing new plantings.