The Ecuadorian conventional and organic banana grower and exporters Agzulasa sees their country regaining lost market share in Europe and the US. Despite a challenging three years for the country’s banana growers Marianela Ubilla, general manager of Agzulasa, says: “We export every week nearly to 28 destinations worldwide but our main markets are Asia, Europe and Middle Eastern countries. We would like to grow the European and US markets, because we are seeing an opportunity to recover as a country the market share that we as Ecuadorians had 40 years ago in those two markets.”
She provides further details on the challenges and how they worked on overcoming them during last year. “This year Ecuador faced a big challenge at the beginning of the Russia and Ukraine war, because Russia as a country is the biggest market for Ecuador which is 23%, and with the restrictions and sanctions we had to reduce the volume to this country. The exporters did not have an alternative market to allocate or divert this 23% or 2 million boxes due to the bananas being treated with chlorpyrifos, which was already prohibited in most of the Europe countries. It is well known nowadays that both markets are demanding chlorpyrifos free fruit and after this scenario, farmers started growing their bananas without this chemical, which might help us to be allowed to enter in the US and Europe markets.”
The Ecuadorian export volume will end the year 2022 with a contraction of about 5,53% in terms of volume, compared with 2021 figures, the losses are around 20,78 million boxes during the last year; which means a reduction of $251 million in incomes and 7,44% less compared with 2021.
“The main factors for this fall has been the price increases of the raw material specially the fertilizer, which has not been allowed enough investment in the production. Beside this factor, we experienced low temperature and luminosity for long periods in the summer season, which directly impacted productivity because of the stress to the banana tree. Unfortunately, Agzulasa´s own and contracted farms were more affected by the weather and the export volume reduced after week 26 in the second semester. On the other hand, we were lucky, because we satisfied the demand contracted in all of our destinations. The biggest falls were within the week 26th and 36th, usually when the markets slow down the purchases due to the summer season. However, I must recognize that we have had three challenging years with external and internal issues, such as the constant strikes that further complicated the logistic operations and made it more expensive.”
Agzulasa is a banana producer and exporter company with more than 35 years of experience in the banana sector. They started with their own Cavendish banana plantation in 1982 with a few farms located mainly in Los Rios province of Ecuador. They became exporters in 2010 with their own capacity, but after two years of expanding their Ecuasabor brand in different markets they had to introduce contracted farms in order to satisfy the demand while increasing their own capacity too. as well.
“In 2017 we were in the top 10 of banana companies and currently we are in the top five. From the beginning of our exports we are committed and focussed on more than just producing, buying and selling bananas; we need to keep the sustainability of the banana business keeping the quality, listening and building trust with our suppliers and importers, thinking in the trend of the consumers such as food safety, and continue to be a part of the livelihood of our society, especially our labour force,” explains Ubilla.
Looking forward to Berlin
“We would like to attract more European customers, because we have GlobalGap and rainforest certified farms, and organic European certified bananas. We also want to continue showing our potential to our current customer that we participate every year in the main exhibitions, no matter if these three years have been challenging, but we still stand with their support. Berlin Fruit Logistica is the most popular, crowded and visited trade show which allows us to meet even once a year with our current importers and summarize our years of cooperation and we are looking for new importers as well,” states Ubilla.
Visit Agzulsa at Fruit Logistica Berlin in Hall 23, stand E11.
For more information:
Tel: +593 98 985 2027