Ecuador: Banana sector rebounded in 2023


Ecuador's banana exports to international markets are on the rise. It reflects a recovery in the sector but not a sustained increase in the industry. It was explained on Monday by Marianella Ubilla, president of the board of directors of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE). Ubilla and José Antonio Hidalgo, executive director of AEBE, and Paúl Vera, from the entity's Statistics office, showed the figures for the 2023 financial year.

He pointed out that 359.12 million boxes of bananas were exported from January to December last year, 5.84 per cent more than in 2022 when 339.31 million boxes were exported. But these numbers "do not reflect the recovery of the sector" that is burdened by insecurity, the El Niño phenomenon, the situation of the Panama Canal and the war in the Red Sea. "That raises logistics costs," she said, adding that the costs rise to around $300 per container and between $2,000 and $15,000 for shipping rates. "These costs are borne by the exporter, which add up to about 10 million dollars per year."

Another issue discussed in the presentation of the statistics of the banana sector was the price of cardboard. She said that an increase of 0.10 or 0.20 cents means an excellent impact on the industry, considering that this year's 2024 price has already been negotiated. For José Antonio Hidalgo, executive director of AEBE, the approval of the Trade Agreement with the People's Republic of China is crucial because it means a benefit in the exemptions from the 5 per cent tariffs currently paid by national exports.