The young Ecuadorian banana export company Banaval, led by Patrizio Catapano, believes being smart, adapting to needs of the market and solving problems are the key to a successful 2023 season. “We have changed the size of our box, our pallets, the way to palletize, to transport the load, etc. We have studied the problems and needs from our clients and we always find and propose the solution,” states Catapano.
“The year 2022 was difficult for all the exporters including Banaval. The war, the post-Covid effects and the high cost of shipping companies created a low demand and a hard situation for everyone, but at the same time this situation forced us to find new markets, new strategies and reorganize the business model. In some markets, the freight cost was optimized, we are no longer distributing bananas by the number of boxes but by the total weight of the container. The strategy is to be able to distribute maritime costs in a better way and compete with better prices,” explains Catapano.
Banaval was created in 2020, after Catapano’s years of experience in other exports companies. He also owns a banana farm. “We are growing every year as a business. Our farms are located in Guayas and the Los Rios area with around 1 500 hectares and include the farms of strategic partners of Banaval, of about 200 growers. We started exporting 10 containers and at the moment we are doing around 50 containers per week worldwide, while we sell the same volumes to other local exporters. We have a team of 32 persons including a quality team on farms. They ensure that all the exported fruit has high quality standards, together with administrative staff who are professionals in their area and mostly bilingual. I am the oldest at 40 years old with the average age at 34 years. We are a smart company that adapts to the needs of the markets and solve any needs of the markets and clients,” explains Catapano.
They have put the challenges of last year behind them and are focusing on making a success in 2023. “The expectation of Banaval in 2023 is to keep growing as a business by exploring new markets. We will continue to develop the business model with our actual clients on the other side where we are strengthening our commercial relations in markets where our brand is already recognized and positioned. We have three brands that actually have an important place in some markets as the favourite of our clients. Our Iguana brand is known in the Middle Eastern markets, Snooky and Ginevra are the favourite in Lithuania, Russia and Kazakhstan while our La Marina brand is preferred by consumers in the Mediterranean markets."
"We are going to Berlin, but just walk around the fair, meet with some clients and talk to others about our company. We want to build our presence in the North European market and explore the North American market, which will be a new market for us,” states Catapano.
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