In a landmark move, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) facilitated the inaugural sea shipment of Indian bananas to the Netherlands by INI Farms, signaling entry into the European market. For the trial shipment of bananas, APEDA has enlisted the support of ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), Lucknow for technical assistance while InI Farms has partnered with Del Monte for marketing and distribution in Europe, and Maersk for logistics. Projections indicate a potential USD 1 billion export value in the next five years, benefiting 25 thousand farmers and creating diverse livelihoods. Top export destinations include the Middle East, with an anticipated USD 303 million export value in FY-2024. This initiative addresses historical challenges, with APEDA's efforts contributing to the promotion of fresh fruit exports. The successful trial underscores a transformative shift in India's fresh banana export landscape, promising increased global market presence.
In Oct-23, Ecuador experienced a 6.36% year-on-year (YoY) increase in banana exports, with the total exports reaching 292.38 million boxes from January to October. The European Union (EU) emerged as a significant market, accounting for 29.30% of exports, reflecting an 18.42% YoY increase. Meanwhile, second-largest destination Russia saw a slight decrease of 0.9% YoY in banana imports from Ecuador. Despite a reduction in shipments in 2022, Ecuador maintained export levels in 2023.
Banana prices in Russia surged to USD 1.54 per kilogram (EUR 1.43/kg) in Oct-23, attributed to the weakening ruble and increased purchasing costs from suppliers. The fall of the ruble against world currencies affected the prices of imported goods, including bananas. Although Ecuador experienced reduced banana shipments to Russia in 2022, 2023 maintained the previous year's export levels. Despite declining wholesale prices, retail prices for bananas remained stable, indicating the fruit's enduring popularity among Russian consumers.
In response to climate change, Hwasun-gun, Jeollanam-do, South Korea, is investing USD 2.74 million (KRW 3.6 billion) to build a banana production base, including a 3.25-hectare (ha) banana glass greenhouse. This initiative aims to create an income base and reduce livestock management costs by using banana farming by-products as feed for Korean beef farms. Bananas are considered advantageous in rural areas due to lower maintenance costs compared to other fruits like apple mangoes.
Peru's banana industry has faced challenges, including the impact of climate change, reduced global demand, and lower prices. Climatic events like El Niño and pest outbreaks have affected key production areas, leading to a decline in supply meeting international quality standards. While producers initially shifted up to 15% more stock to the domestic market, the future of bananas in Peru remains uncertain. Differentiation, such as focusing on organic bananas, may provide some resilience against market challenges.
Banana producers in Paraguay and Bolivia are set to resume shipments to Argentina following the authorization of foreign currency use for imports. The decision came after discussions with Argentine officials, signaling a positive step for producers who faced disruptions. Producers are awaiting payments and are cautiously optimistic about normalizing the situation.