The use of new technologies aimed at increasing productivity and the promotion of new non-traditional banana crops are some of the trends that were discussed during the World Banana Summit that took place until Thursday at the Guayaquil Convention Center.
¡#ElMejorBananoEsEcuatoriano! El Ministro Subrogante @byronFloresl participa de la IX #CMB2019 junto a productores, comercializadoras y exportadores de la fruta, con la finalidad de intercambiar experiencias que aporten al desarrollo de la cadena productiva. pic.twitter.com/AqRInoaJUc— Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería Ecuador (@AgriculturaEc) 10 de abril de 2019
The subject even jumped to the stage of the academic forums, to be part of Walter Spurrier’s lecture: ‘Economic analysis of the Latin American banana industry’.
Spurrier analyzed the situation in the region with emphasis on Ecuador, the continent’s largest exporter with about 6.8 million tons in 2018. He exposed the advantages and disadvantages to its competitors and the situation with its main markets, such as the one in the European Union, where the country exports the majority of its production, 30.8%, followed by Russia, Ukraine and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), where it sends 24%.
Then the Middle East and Turkey, where it reaches 15.6%; more than the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, where only 12.2% is exported, a worrying situation due to the loss of market compared to competitors such as Guatemala and Costa Rica that are closer, which represents less transportation costs, according to analyzed Spurrier, who pointed out that it is a strong disadvantage.
Spurrier stressed the difference in production per hectare (ha) between Ecuador and its competitors, which he described as another weakness.
Ecuador has 160,000 hectares of crops, while Guatemala has 80,000; Costa Rica 55 thousand; and Dominican Republic 28 thousand; however, Costa Rica stands out for producing 3,279 boxes per hectare, while Ecuador only produces 2,191 boxes. Guatemala takes out 2,673 boxes and Dominican Republic 2,319, also more than Ecuador.
In this area he highlighted the importance of new technologies, such as drones, which help precision agriculture focused on increasing productivity. In the fair there were several suppliers of this technology that caught the attention of producers.
One of these companies was Megadrone. Freddy Martinez, agronomist of the firm, said that the drone offered, the Xaircraft P20 of Chinese manufacturing and technology, can be used for several crops, especially in sensitive areas near canals, rivers or homes. The price of the device was around $ 23 thousand.
In this regard, Ricardo Baquerizo, president of Expoplaza, one of the organizers of the Summit, said that there are already works and results on the increase of productivity.
He said that although Ecuador has an average of 2,000 boxes per hectare, there are farms that already produce an average of 4,000 boxes per hectare. “We have an important margin of productivity development,” he said. (I)