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Ecuador 01/11/2023

Organic banana farm in Guayaquil with sustainable year-round cultivation

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Last week, the global giant in tropical fruit production and distribution, Fyffes, warmly welcomed Fructidor.com to the San Jorge farm in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

According to Leslie Medina, Fyffes Banana Production General Manager, banana cultivation began in this area 12 years ago.

“Here on the peninsula, there are roughly 1,200 hectares cultivated with bananas, all of which are organic. Our farm, San Jorge, is an hour and a half away from the city of Guayaquil. It operates 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year,” Mr. Medina commented.

By maintaining an unwavering commitment to delivering quality fruit to the world, Fyffes makes a positive impact on growers and farmers.

“Bananas are attractive to all stakeholders because they are available year-round. They offer business opportunities for shipping companies and input sellers, as well as employment. So, around bananas, there is a lot of development in the nearby sectors. Banana companies have developed zones that previously had nothing — no clinics, hospitals, schools, roads, or housing. [...] We started developing this plant in 2019, and today we have 120 workers here. We have an organization that deals with all the relationships — a workers' committee, a health and safety department, and an association in charge of the fair trade process,” the manager continued.

Geographical Benefits and Organic Production

In contrast to temperate or subtropical areas like Australia, the southern part of China, or Israel, where they only have one harvest a year, Ecuador has year-round banana production. The development of the fruit extends for nine months.

“It’s important to note that only 19% of all the bananas produced in a year are exported from the field. This means that the remaining 81% stays in the field, making bananas a very sustainable system. Imagine, 282 tons of residues per hectare per annum are constantly being recycled. [...] The dynamics of organic matter recycling require only two things to be triggered — heat and humidity. In Ecuador, we have both every single day. The recycling rate of organic matter is very high, as well as the input,” Mr. Medina highlighted.

On the farming side of things, organic production is more complicated than conventional. According to Mr. Medina, the most limiting factors here are nitrogen supply, Sigatoka disease, and insects. Trips basically cause cosmetic damage to the fruit and don’t affect the pulp but make them less attractive for buyers in Europe or the U.S.

"It's worth highlighting that 100% of our power comes from renewable sources. It is all hydroelectric, and we’re right next to an irrigation channel that can serve 70,000 hectares.”, Mr. Medina concluded.

 

 

 

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As the opposite of temperate or subtropical areas like Australia, the southern part of China or Israel, where they only have one harvest a year, Ecuador has banana production year-round. The development of the fruit runs for nine months.
 
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