Ecuador is still far and away the world leader in exports of bananas, nearly tripling the output of its neighbors in Central and South America.
Though it sustained some nicks during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is rising again, with a 6% increase in bananas shipped during early 2023 and remains the go-to hub for this thriving industry.
As front of mind as production and supply are for British traders and consumers, so are Ecuador’s commitments to sustainability and a living wage. Nine big UK retailers, in fact, all signed on to back the latter earlier this year, so discussions on gaps in pay are essential.
Those topics and many others will be addressed during the three-day, signature Banana Time 2023 XX International Convention held by the Association of Ecuadorian Banana Exporters (AEBE) in heart of this fruit-bearing nation, Guayaquil.
The “strategic agenda” for the show, taking place at the Hilton Colón Hotel Oct. 24-27, includes sessions on market conditions, labour relations and projected outlooks for the industry in 2024. Sustainability and competitiveness will be major themes, according to AEBE. There also will be a look at consumer trends and international destinations, and how to build and strengthen those connections.
“This year we want to exhaust efforts to reach more and better the international market,” José Antonio Hidalgo, Director of the AEBE, says. “For this reason, we seek to promote important changes in the productive conditions of the farms, from the technical and economic point of view, going through the labour, social and environmental aspects.
“Faced with the current situation in which we live in the country and the world, we have great challenges ahead of us, as an industry we must respond with a responsible and comprehensive vision that thinks about people, the environment and business in the long term.”
Ecuador understands the perils of supply chain, weather, and political disruptions. The fallout from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine caused material costs to increase and exports to plummet dramatically – by 7% or more. AEBE said its convention will tackle these delicate subjects head on, address both El Niño and La Niña in Ecuador, and look at best practices in limiting carbon and water usage.
One of the goals of the convention is to bring leaders from across the globe together to foster partnerships and “strengthen collaboration at the international level.” So, in addition to the sessions, the event will feature a bustling a trade show and myriad networking opportunities and business roundtables, plus experiential exchange. More than 80 companies which represent the diversity of the banana sector chain – producers, exporters, shipping companies, ports, logistics companies and service companies – are expected to take part in the convention.
Those interested in registering and participating in Banana Time 2023 and elevating the conversation can obtain credentials through the AEBE’s website.