Uruguay doesn’t produce bananas because of it weather characteristics. Despite this, the banana is by far the most consumed fruit in the country. Uruguay imports bananas especially from Brazil and Ecuador. This fruit has a set of virtues that have allowed it to be one of the most demanded fruits for several decades.
Pablo Pacheco, the head of the Commercial Development Area of the Managing Commission of the Model Market, said that the banana was a wonderful fruit and that there were several factors that made it an attractive food.
A key element, he said, is its price. It is usually accessible and stable, except when there is a specific difficulty in the productive areas.
On the other hand, “It is very easy for consumers to know when it the fruit is at its optimum ripeness point for consumption, a point at which it is a very rich fruit.” This can’t be easily achieved with other tropical fruits, such as melon or pineapple.
In addition, he said, it is a sweet fruit and therefore very well accepted by children. Another advantage is that it is soft, so it’s easy to ingest; even by older adults who have difficulty eating other solid fruits.
Moreover, it is easy to transport it without deterioration, it’s easy to peel, and it doesn’t have seeds, so can be completely eaten.
Furthermore, after consuming it people quickly feel like they have satisfied their hunger.
Pacheco said that technological developments in the harvest, transport, and storage stages have made it easier to give consumers a product that has the right maturity conditions throughout the whole year, unlike other fruits that are basically seasonal.
This has been possible because of a strong commitment from real multinationals that, seeing the potential of the sector, focused on the banana, which is the most eaten fruit in the countries where it is grown as well as in other countries, such as Uruguay, and in markets that are far away from the tropical fruit production areas, such as Germany and England.
Pedro de Lisa, the director of Proexur Dole Uruguay, one of the main importers of this product -which exclusively imports bananas from Dole Ecuador-, highlighted the differential quality of the Ecuadorian banana. It is a premium banana because of Ecuador’s homogeneous climate and the technological development that the banana production sector has had there, he said.
As a result of being a premium banana, he said, there is a price difference between the banana coming from Ecuador and the one that comes from other markets. “It’s the same quality that is exported to the United States, the logistics to transport this premium product is much more demanding and has higher costs than the fruit brought from other markets. It’s what differentiates it from the banana brought from Brazil,” he stated.
The banana from Brazil usually arrives in trucks, which in many cases don’t have refrigeration systems, but the banana from Ecuador is transported in ships from Guayaquil to Chile and from there in refrigerated trucks to Uruguay. De Lisa also said that the Division of Plant Health of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries controlled all the fruit that entered the country.