W37: Banana Update

In W37 in the banana landscape, Ecuador continues to lead in exports of organic products to Europe, maintaining its top position for the third consecutive year. In the first half of 2023, the country exported approximately 260 thousand tons of organic products, with organic bananas accounting for 88% of the exports. As of W37, Ecuador has nearly 80 thousand certified hectares (ha) dedicated to organic farming, representing 1.4% of its agricultural area.

Furthermore, insecurity issues led to the delay of 400 containers of bananas from being exported from Puerto Bolívar, Ecuador, between September 9 and 10, 2023. Criminal gangs extorted tugboat crews, causing disruptions in the loading and export process. The incident affected banana quality and competitiveness, resulting in additional costs. Ecuador's export sector faces daily insecurity alerts, with over 500 criminal incidents recorded this year, causing economic losses exceeding USD 5 million. A comprehensive security plan is being developed to ensure safe navigation operations, but export organizations urge the government to guarantee security at all port terminals.

Fresh Peruvian banana exports continue to face challenges in 2023, with no signs of recovery. In W37, shipments totaled 3.20 thousand tons, marking a 27% decline compared to the same period in 2022. Since the beginning of 2023, Peru has exported 148.56 thousand tons, representing a 3% decrease from 2022. The Netherlands, Panama, and Italy were the top destinations for Peruvian bananas during W37. Most shipments departed from the northern port of Paita by sea, accounting for 90.5% of all exports.

The Dominican Republic's Minister of the Presidency has suspended the export of whole bananas through Resolution 05-2023 to ensure price stability for the product. This measure, effective from September 18 and subject to review in 30 days, aligns with the National Development Strategy 2030, which prioritizes ensuring the productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability of agro-productive chains to support food security.

Banana cultivation in Kerala, India, is experiencing a significant decline, according to data from the Kerala State Economics and Statistics Department. Cultivation of banana varieties like ethan, njalipoovan, and palayankodan has decreased over the years due to climate change and unstable prices. For example, ethapazham cultivation has dropped from 59.14 thousand ha in 2006-07 to 49.02 thousand ha in 2021-22. Similarly, the production of various banana varieties has decreased from 4.39 million metric tons (mmt) in 2006-07 to 4.10 mmt in 2021-22. This decline has increased banana imports from other states to meet domestic demand.

Lastly, the government of Tanzania has imposed quarantine measures on 23 districts in 10 banana-producing regions due to an outbreak of Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV). This viral disease, transmitted by aphids, has severely impacted banana cultivation, resulting in production decline and economic loss for farmers. The Tanzanian government plans to uproot infected plants and replace them with new seedlings produced through tissue culture. The BBTV outbreak has affected various regions in Tanzania, and control measures are being implemented to mitigate its spread and economic impact.

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