12% Drop in Banana Exports in Ecuador


On Tuesday, March 5, 2024, Ecuador's banana exporters reported a 12% decline in exports to all their destinations in January. They attribute this drop to low production and the lack of signed contracts with international customers.

Compared to January 2023, around 4.5 million fewer boxes of bananas were exported in the first month of the year. According to Richard Salazar, executive director of the Ecuadorian Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec), Ecuador is losing market share in Europe to other producing countries such as Colombia and Costa Rica. These countries were preferred because of their lower prices and the lack of contracts signed by Ecuadorian exporters.

Salazar explained that another reason for the preference for Colombian and Costa Rican bananas is because they do not need to go through the Panama Canal and offer between 30 and 60 cents less per box than Ecuador. In addition, he noted that the drop in exports in January was mainly due to a reduction in production and a decrease in purchases in the European Union. In the case of Russia, the second-best market after the EU, there was also a significant 30% reduction in contracts.

Salazar said they expected to close more contracts in February, but this did not happen. In addition, he recalled that Ecuador increased the minimum support price of the banana box for 2024, from US$ 6.50 to US$ 6.85, which also affects negotiations with its customers. Despite the drop in exports, the signing of contracts between exporters and producers within the country continues without major changes. Salazar said that they maintain a figure close to 55% and 60% of signed contracts, necessary for the fruit to be exported. However, he acknowledged that, in Ecuador, 55% of destinations buy fruit on spot, that is, at international price at the time of cutting and without contracts, while 45% buy through contracts.