Ecuador is responsible for half of the world’s banana exports. According to the agreement, It’s Fresh filter technology will be introduced to 28 affiliate growers and exporters in the region.
The It’s Fresh! filters work by absorbing ethylene – the ripening hormone – from fresh fruit and vegetables. The technology has reportedly been shown to prolong the green life of bananas throughout the supply chain.
The preservation of the green life of bananas is of huge importance to Ecuadorian exporters. Research performed in 2018 reportedly demonstrated that the use of It’s Fresh! filters doubled banana green life to an average of 70+ days when used in a modified atmosphere, according to a release from It’s Fresh!
Commenting on the new agreements, Richard Salazar, executive director of ACORBANEC, said: “Extending the green life of bananas is vital – not just for business but also for addressing the global food waste crisis. We think the It’s Fresh! technology could be a real game changer for our affiliates and look forward to introducing them in the coming months.”
Nicolas Duran, Director of Latin America for It’s Fresh!, added: “This partnership marks a new chapter for It’s Fresh! and is part of our ongoing commitment to reducing food waste globally.
“We work hard to collaborate with key stakeholders in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry worldwide, and by working with ACORBANEC we will be able to introduce our technology to countless more exporters and growers in Ecuador which is such a key region for the banana trade.”
The UK company is also interested in replicating this type of agreement with other key fruit and veg associations across Latin America and worldwide, helping to increase revenue at the start of the supply chain and reduce waste.
According to the terms of the agreement, representatives from It’s Fresh! will travel with ACORBANEC around the key Ecuadorian regions or Guayaquil and Machala to meet with associates, company owners and other exporters in the region to present It’s Fresh! and its benefits
The company will also offer free training programs on the benefits of ethylene control and banana post-harvest.
Industry standards require bananas to remain green during shipment and distribution, which means that any bananas that have ripened in transit are rendered unsaleable and are considered waste. Growers and exporters are therefore under significant pressure to ensure their produce does not ripen in transit.
Ecuador is reportedly the leading exporter of bananas, and delivered $3bn worth of bananas to 71 countries worldwide in 2017. Other key banana exporters include the Philippines, Belgium, Costa Rica, Colombia and Guatemala.
According to ACORBANEC data, Ecuador’s main market has been the EU, receiving 29% of its exports. The country’s banana market has seen a 2% year-on-year increase of its total banana export volume during the first quarter of 2019.