Due to the sanctions imposed after the start of a special military operation in Ukraine and difficulties with logistics, Ecuador has lost its largest buyer of bananas – Russia. Producers are forced to leave bananas to rot in the fields or sell them for a dollar for an 18-kilogram box. In Vladivostok, meanwhile, bananas cost 200-220 rubles per kilogram.
Prior to the military special operation, about 1.8 million boxes of bananas were destined for Russia every week and about 180,000 for Ukraine, EL UNIVERSO reports. According to The Wall Street Journal, Russia accounted for more than 20% of banana exports from Ecuador.
Now, due to the closed Ukrainian ports, the route through the Black Sea has been limited, and to St. Petersburg – congested. And in early March, Maersk stopped transporting goods to Russia, which delivered at least half of the bananas to our country.
Two weeks ago, banana growers in Guayas, Los Rios and El Oro blocked bunches of roads, demanding a state of emergency and buying back food from the reserve fund. By that time, more than 1.15 million boxes had accumulated in Ecuador, and the damage to producers amounted to $ 15 million.
Producers are demanding that the price of an 18-kilogram box of bananas be kept at $ 6.25, as it was set for 2022. However, due to the fact that the Russian market is closed and the government cannot find new buyers, farmers have to sell bananas five times cheaper.
According to the newspaper EL COMERCIO, banana production is the main source of jobs in rural Ecuador. Reducing demand threatens 50,000 workers directly and indirectly – another 250,000. In addition, fertilizers have become more expensive, the main supplier of which for this country is Russia.
Ecuador’s Minister of International Trade said he was working on offering a line of credit to farmers and measures to allow local food companies to buy bananas at special prices for use in flour, bread and crackers.
Bananas are also transported to Vladivostok from Ecuador. The stores still have both ripe and greenish ones – in contrast to August 2021, when due to additional sanitary and quarantine control under the new rules of Rospotrebnadzor there were none. In large chains such as Remi, Ekonomich and Samberi, Ecuadorian bananas are sold at 199.9 rubles per kilogram, in Mikhailovsky – 219.9. Over the last month, they have risen by more than 8%.