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Ecuador targets U.S. market for organic bananas


Ecuador remains the king of bananas, both conventional and organic, and the U.S. is its top export market.

From January to July 2023, Ecuador exported 357,140 tons of organic bananas, of that amount, 76 percent was destined for the U.S., according to Primicias, using to data from the Central Bank.

Headshot of Marco Campos, Produce Blue Book's media coordinator for Latin America.

“Organic bananas are bought by those who have greater purchasing power,” says Richard Salazar, executive director of the Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec), referring to the American consumer.

Ecuador is the main supplier of organic bananas to the U.S. Furthermore, in 2022 it gained share in that market due to production problems in other supplier countries, such as Peru and the Dominican Republic.

The second destination for Ecuadorian bananas is Europe: 19 percent of the volume exported in the first seven months of 2023 was for that market.

Of the total bananas imported by Europe, including the UK, 12 percent corresponds to organic bananas; it occupies the same market share in the U.S.

In the case of Europe and the UK, that figure has remained constant in the last four years, according to a report by Fruitrop, the economic research unit of the French research center Cirad.

Like conventional banana exports, organic banana exports are recovering in 2023, after the falls in 2021 and 2022.

Salazar recalls that, in the last two years, exports were contracted by the increase in costs in maritime transport and the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 357,140 tons of organic bananas exported in the first seven months of the year represent an increase of 5.2 percent compared to the same months of 2022.

While in value, exports reached $273 million, an increase of 11 percent compared to the same period of the previous year, according to data from the Central Bank, compiled by the Ministry of Production.

In total, between January and July 2023, Ecuador exported 4.2 million tons of bananas. Of that volume, 8.5 percent corresponded to organic bananas, according to the ECB. It is the top exporter of bananas, conventional and organic, in the world.

Salazar explains that, although organic production is more expensive and less efficient, it is compensated by the price. Per box of fruit, the difference is up to $3, between conventional and organic bananas.

While for the consumer, a kilo of organic banana costs 20-30 cents more than conventional bananas.


Marco Campos is Media Coordinator, Latin America for Blue Book Services