Celebrating its 20th year, the Ecuador-based Banana Time international convention continues to evolve. Business networking and trade talk clearly remain the focus for attendees who converge on Guayaquil.
But two more topics – sustainability and climate – will take center stage on the agenda of this year’s event hosted by the Association of Ecuadorian Banana Exporters (AEBE). Outside of supply chain disruptions, there are perhaps no bigger threats to this delicate industry than the environment, El Niño and La Niña.
A pair of major individual conferences within the show at the Hilton Colón Hotel from 24-27 October will be held around addressing those phenomena and finding solutions. Promoting “the development and revitalization” of one of Ecuador’s exports at Banana Time is essential, and the same can be said for global fresh produce leaders who rely on this South American nation to deliver them.
“We want to make known the efforts that Ecuador is making in social and environmental sustainability, with advanced regulations that accompany the responsible work of our companies,” says José Antonio Hidalgo, Executive Director of AEBE. “This ranges from compliance with the Living Wage, to the work to promote and renew the first manual on occupational health with international organizations and local authorities, to always look after our workers who are the most important thing in our chain.”
Limiting carbon footprints and water usage, while ensuring workers achieve personal goals are lofty hopes of the organisers of the event.
In its session called Progress and Challenges for True Shared Responsibility (part of the Contributions of the FAO World Banana Forum to Sustainability), leaders will discuss how commercial producers can adapt to new rules, laws, and regulations to maintain compliance in the international market. In addition to focussing on the need to “link product prices to the costs of sustainable production” to boost investment and help producers, the conference will address worker income, human rights and environmental impacts.
“In terms of sustainability, Ecuador is ready and willing to increase its leadership in the most demanding markets,” Hidalgo says.
The second big conference is Monitoring the Climate in Ecuador. El Niño has devoured 50,000 hectares of banana plantations. Already, the weather phenomenon has led to 70% of farmers being impacted, where the average worker has lost more than 15% in wages. If unabated, it could lead to nearly $600 million in lost exports. A network of meteorological stations of the AEBE Banana Statistical Observatory will be on hand to help leaders make the best decisions in the future.
For those interested in attending the event – either industry leaders or the general public – there is still time. Go tohttps://bananatime.btoolbox.com/index for more information, to complete the online registration and pay to obtain credentials.