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Effects of the Coronavirus Are the Center of the Virtual Banana Convention 2020 in Ecuador

9.10.2020

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the efforts to overcome them are the central axis of the XVII International Banana Convention 2020, which was virtually inaugurated on October 5 and had its operations centre in Ecuador. 

The forum, which brought together actors from the banana industry of Ecuador and the world until October 8, has virtually recreated the usual spaces of a conference considered one of the most important in the sector. 

The opening ceremony took place in a hotel in Guayaquil. "The banana sector has established itself as a fundamental pillar for the economy." This is how the President of the Republic, Lenín Moreno, referred during the inauguration where the Ministers of Production and Foreign Trade, Iván Ontaneda, also participated; and that of Agriculture, Xavier Lazo; as well as the ambassador of the European Union, Charles-Michel Geurts. The president indicated that banana exports generated $ 2.7 billion, employing around 180,000 people, for which he described it as a strategic sector of the economy, especially to strengthen trade relations. For his part, Robert Córdova, Undersecretary of Marketing of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, said that now producers have personalized credit lines, associative credit and policy of good agricultural practices. 

He also highlighted the actions that have been taken since last year to prevent the entry of Fusarium Race 4, with preventive actions and training. Added to this is the support of producers for other sectors that recently faced the fall of the Sangay volcano ash. Marianella Ubilla, president of the Ecuadorian Banana Exporters Association (AEBE), announced that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the country represents 33% of world banana production. "It is constancy and dedication, mistakes and successes in an industry that has a defined and specialized model in the value chain, innovating with effort according to market needs," she stressed. 

For her part, Minister Ontaneda congratulated the work carried out in recent months by exporting companies for their increase as a productive sector. 

"There are 7.5 billion dollars that the country's export sector has generated in the months of the pandemic," said the minister adding that his country plans to sustain the dollarization, adopted in 2000. 

Ambassador Geurts highlighted that the Ecuadorian banana sector represents "a sector accustomed to successfully competing in international markets." 

"Even under unfavourable conditions, bananas were the main agricultural export product during the pandemic," Geurts said. 

The diplomat recalled the figures for the demand for bananas in the European Union and stressed that "it continues to grow", suggesting that "there are many opportunities and the sector will also have to adapt to new market niches." 

Ecuador is "particularly strong" in the supply of agri-food products demanded by the European Union, Geurts added. 

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