The Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec) warned: the Russian, Iranian, Argentine and Turkish markets started to contract.
Ecuador is the most important supplier of bananas in these markets. In Russia he owns 95 or 98% of the market, depending on the season.
Now Geomara Mesache, commercial counselor at the offices of Pro Ecuador in Moscow, agrees with the critical scenarios shown by Acorbanec: the Russian economy is not at its best. Acorbanec has said that devaluation is the main cause of bad omens.
But Costa Rica has grown 33% there. “In the opinion of importers, this is due to its price,” says Mesache. Mexico is the third provider.
The devaluation of the ruble makes the fruit of a dollarized country more expensive.
There is also concern about what happens in the European Union and especially in the country that buys the most bananas from Ecuador in that economic bloc, Germany. There the supermarket Aldi announced a reduction in the price of the box by 1 dollar, which triggered the criticism of Ecuadorian producers and exporters, who sent a letter condemning the claim. This is not only the Acorbanec firm, but the Association of Exporters (AEBE) and Agroban, a guild that has a presence in the north of Europe with Agroban Nordic.
“In Ecuador the banana business is very organized and regulated and we work with a minimum price -decreted by the Government- if the price of Aldi came into force, the producers and exporters would have to violate the Ecuadorian law and pay below the official price”, says the letter signed by 34 organizations.
Richard Salazar, administrator of Acorbanec and promoter of this reaction, has already talked with the two most important trade unions, Corbata de Costa Rica and Augura de Colombia, which will also have a similar position to that of Ecuador before Aldi. “We agree that the claim of this supermarket will cause enormous damage to the sustainability of thousands of farmers in Latin America, as well as the economies of the producing countries.”
A no to a domino effect
Aldi, according to Acorbanec, represents 40% of banana sales in the European market, therefore, “if this manages to lower the price, it will scratch the court for others to do so”, points out Richard Salazar.
Tesco, Lidl, Asda, Sainsbury’s are other important players in the banana market of the European Union, which is not only the largest consumer of bananas, but also where the best price is paid in relation to the other destinations.
In Argentina the situation is also complex, since it is a country where there is less and less consumption power. There Ecuadorian bananas are considered premium, so consumers would prefer lower quality fruit from other important suppliers: Brazil, Paraguay or Bolivia. (I)