Productivity is a guarantee of competitiveness. In the Ecuadorian banana sector, there is a company that has achieved good results for years thanks to a good strategy for a high return. “Our production sites have the highest productivity in the country, averaging 4,000 cartons per hectare over the last 8 years, while the average in Ecuador is around 2,000 cartons,” says Sergio Cedeño, director of Agrícola Cañas, a company he owns. years ago and which has 850 hectares spread over 9 cultivation sites.
“We have achieved this high productivity thanks to precision cultivation. Each plot at each cultivation site is technically managed individually according to the properties of the soil. This is especially important for fertilization, which we apply according to the nutritional needs of each plot of land,” explains an agricultural engineer, graduated from Zamorano University in Honduras. “Agricola Cañas’ production sites even serve as a model for other companies in Ecuador and far beyond because of a focus on technical management.”
“We also renovated the plots in the sense that we replaced old plantations with in vitro banana plants, which we import from the best laboratories in Latin America, especially from Costa Rica. These in vitro plants not only have better productivity, they also adapt. “better and have a greater resistance to banana diseases. In addition, the plants are smaller and therefore easier to harvest, which is also positive for our harvest workers.”
“After all, Agricola Cañas is there first and foremost for its employees,” emphasizes Sergio Cedeño. “We have various facilities for them, ranging from dining rooms to football pitches and modern gyms, where professionals from different industries come to teach topics such as gastronomy, health, environmental care or horticultural technology. We are constantly seeking to improve the well-being, health and education of our employees further. “
Banana suppliers on 5 continents
Agrícola Cañas sends its fruit to North America, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and China. “We are moWe are currently sending our fruit to New Zealand in collaboration with a large company there, and we may also do some testing this year to start expanding exports to Oceania in 2023. In addition, we have a customer who exports our bananas to Algeria, so we can say that we are active on all continents. “
“The Ecuadorian banana has the advantage of a good shelf life because it has a longer shelf life than fruit from other countries. Due to the climate in Ecuador, there are not so many diseases in the plants. The Ecuadorian banana can therefore be used in any part of the world to achieve the perfect quality. “
With a share of 33% of the world’s banana exports, Ecuador is the largest exporter of this fruit. Bananas are the most consumed fruit in the world. “But also the cheapest,” Sergio apologizes. Meanwhile, the cost of basic horticultural raw materials is rising, jeopardizing the survival of many farms and thus food security, as more and more people starve in the world. By 2021, between 702 and 828 million people worldwide, according to FAO data, will suffer from hunger.
“In that sense, the banana sector is going through a very difficult time, and if this is not resolved, there is not much hope of continuing to focus on this crop with this incredible increase in costs. In particular, freight costs have risen markedly. For example, in to a large extent the shipping companies, which make it all more expensive because they transport the raw materials. “
“The price of diesel needed to pump irrigation water, among other things, has increased by 350% compared to 2020, and the price of fertilizer has increased by an average of 180%,” said William Boyd of the company’s commercial department. “These prices ensure that growers fertilize less or not at all. This is not only the case in banana cultivation, the production of many other crops will also fall. There are already many plots that are already wholly or partly left to themselves.”
“Therefore, the Latin American countries are asking supermarkets in the United States and Europe to raise the price of the fruit they buy from us to ensure the survival of our farms. With only 10 cents per kilo, we should be able to do that.” It would save a sector that is very important for consumers and for a country where the livelihoods of almost 2 million people depend directly or indirectly on banana cultivation.
Agrícola Cañas holds the GlobalGAP, SMETA and Rainforest certifications and is also licensed by the Ecuadorian government. “Although it is mandatory, there are very few farms that have the permit,” says Sergio Cedeño. “But our environmental awareness actually goes much further than that,” he adds.
“We are one of the few companies that recycles the water in our canals to purify it so that the water we return to the creek does not contain residues from the plant protection products we use. Because many people bathe in the creek and collect them There is also drinking water. In addition, we have in our water channels some plants called camachos, which with their wide leaves prevent spray from falling into the water. In Ecuador it is not mandatory, but we see it as our moral duty to ensure that the water that comes from our habitats is clean. “
“I have the honor to preside over the Montubio Culture Foundation, which is committed to preserving our folklore, traditions, gastronomy, music, costumes … The Montubios live mainly from the countryside of the coastal region of Ecuador, which is why we too try to maintain our places of cultivation so that they remain clean and healthy, and the landscape remains a pleasant place for future generations. “
For more information:
km. 10 Via to Samborondon (Ecuador)
Phone: +593 4500-9820 (201)