Organic banana exports from the DR

The Dominican Republic is a major producer of organic bananas, most of which are destined for the international market. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in 2018, the country ranked as the leading producer of organic bananas with 55% of world production.

According to the Dominican Association of Banana Producers (Adobanano), there are 1,851 banana producers in the country, of which 65 are independent. There are 34 companies, of which 29 are exporters.

The production and export of bananas to several European countries and the United States contributes to the growth of the agricultural sector’s gross domestic product (GDP). However, organic fresh bananas decreased -11.3% in volume of metric tons (MT) between 2018 and 2022, from 140.1 MT to 124.2 MT.

For last year, organic banana exports generated US$204.7 million, a difference of -8.9% from 2018’s revenue of US$224.9 million. In absolute terms it is equivalent to US$20.2 million less.

However, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, traditional banana (guineo) exports in 2022 totaled US$109.3 million, a variation of 69.9% over 2018, when it stood at US$64.3 million. According to the data, 538,925 metric tons were sold to the foreign market in that five-year period.

The organic agriculture coordinator of Bananos Ecológicos de la Línea Noroeste (Banelino), Gustavo Gandini, affirms that this phenomenon is due to the fact that Ecuador surpassed the country in certified organic planted areas, so he understands in the future they will have greater export potential.

He also explains that the Dominican market has higher production costs than the South American nation. Ecuador spends an average of US$3.00 to produce a 40-pound box of bananas, while it costs the Dominican producer US$8.00.

Market fragility

The Caribbean country is facing the effects of climate change. Therefore, its geographical location and economic factors pose a risk, according to the “Global Risk Index”.

A report by the German Society for International Cooperation on climate change and its effects on banana production in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic projects that by 2050 the provinces of Valverde and Azua will experience decreases in rainfall averaging 23% and 19%, respectively.

Consequently, climatic conditions would be causing losses in their agricultural yields. He says that production losses are equivalent to a shortage of supply, market and trade volumes would contract, which would lead to an increase in banana prices.

Another factor that could put the market at risk is the new variant of the disease “Panama disease” (it owes its name to its origin in that country in the 90s), or TR4, which in the past caused havoc in the variety of banana Johnson previously produced and was replaced by the Cavendish, according to the specialist.

Gandini understands that although Agriculture conducted drills to prevent the spread, which affects both banana and plantain, more publicity and detention tools are still needed at airports.

Banana growers in Costa Rica, Colombia and Nicaragua remain alert to the appearance of the fungus that blocks the vascular tissues of the musaceae, leading to its wilting.

Departure

The Manzanillo dock, Monte Cristi, is the most convenient point for banana exports due to its geographical location. Producers consulted explain that the rehabilitation of the port would mean a decrease in the cost of transportation and time, since they must go to the ports of Santo Domingo for export.

According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development in 2015 the country had 12,000 hectares of organic bananas and exported more than 240,000 tons (around US$150 million). Approximately 95% was sent to Europe.

Source: Eldinero.com

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Dominican Republic Live Editor

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