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Upward Curve
Piura's banana opens its way fastly in the international market.

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If you ate Peruvian organic bananas, through tis story we'll show you where they come from.
Photo: © El Regional de Piura / file.

LOS ANGELES, Cal. -- American people look like to love banana, so Dominican Republic seems to be the spoiled one. The Caribbean country  is the main provider of the fruit, Peru is just behind.

The United States  International Trade Commission reports that Peru's banana exportation was US$ 53 million in 2015. U.S. is the main market for Peru.

According to Peru's Foreign Trade Office in Los Angeles, it could displace Dominicans in the short term if it makes the productive chain more competitive, what means a more attractive value added,  and researches to avoid the plagues can decimate the production.

In fact, one of the challenges for Peruvian producers is keeping black sigatoka (Mycosphaerella fijiensis) away, a very common disease in Dominican Republic and Mexico as well, the other fruit producer. Both combined represent the half of the world's share.

At least in the U.S. West Coast, the banana is consumed mostly in its dehydrated version because it can be added to snacks like energetic bars or juices, then comes the fruit as we know, what it's better if organic.

FACTORTIERRA.NET asked some consumers  in The Big Orange if they can identify The Peruvian banana at supermarkets and said yes - each fruit has clearly marked its procedence place and the organic tag just in case.

The u.S. Organic Trade Association  assures the organic banana market represents US$ 165 million. However, there are two countries those dispute the leadership  in fruit's exportation too, India and Ecuador.

Once cropped, this organic banana can leave Chira Valley, Peru, the main production area, and going to Canada, Europe, Japan or the U.S.
Photo: © El Regional de Piura / file.

The banana (Musa sp, Musa porparadisiaca) is the most popular intertropical fruit in the world. It comes out from Asian Southeastern, is sowed and cropped in virtually everywhere with warm and relatively wet weather -  170 countries to be more accurate.

It is supposed the cropped strain in Peru fluorished initially in India. progressively it was spreading across the west until reaching Canary Islands, where it was exported to La Española Island in 1519. Currently that piece of land is shared by Haiti and... Dominican Republic.

By the way, the banana word is possibly Arabian meaning 'fingers'. The mature fruit is rich in fiber, easy metabolism carbohydrates, potasium, A & C vitamins, and it doesn't have much sodium nor fat. Its fifth part is dry matter that supplies about 120 calories.

The most bananas you enjoy abroad are produced by farmers in associations and cooperatives across Chira Valley, Peruvian Northern.
Photo by NorAndino, distributed by El Regional de Piura / file.

Chira Valley (Piura, Peru) has already sowed banana several decades ago but pretending to satisfy the domestic market indeed.

When ecuadorian banana producers noted they can not fulfil their exportation share and came into the Chira to look for who could provide the fruit in mid-1990s, it was when exporting potential became clear.  The problem was the local producers sold  individually, waht allowed a large speculation range and few gains.

Organized and managed production by Chira's banana farmers started September 2001, they are part of the international fair trade system more than a decade ago. Currently, they export to Japan, europe, Canada and the U.S.

It is estimated that in Piura Region 52 sq mi or less than 1/500 of regional territory are sowed with organic banana, les than  1/70 of Sullana Province's territory, where plantations are mostly concentrated. Until mid-2015, the business benefit 6500 farmers and 30000 families across Piura, mainly the coastal part.

The most cropped type is Cavendish-Valery. It is placed into 40,6-pound boxes, those cost US$ 3,80 at the plantation, until US$ 11,70 when reaching the seaport for better.

It has grew up 23% between 2007 and 2015, what places it as the Piura's most profittable productive chain, according to organized banana farmers.

Only between 2014 and 2015, it grew up 19% boosted by the international demand, what means US$ 143 million income after sending 188000 tons, according to Piura's Banana technical Board. Those numbers include delivers to the U.S.

According to Peru's Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, national organic banana exportation grew up 95% between 2010 and 2015 and 22% between 2014 and 2015. In the same way, it reported that then each pound  was paid US$ 0,23 in average.

FACTORTIERRA.NET learns  tat same pound can cost US$ 0,99 in average when reaching  L.A. supermarkets. That same pound can cost US$ 0,17 in average across outdoor markets across Piura Coast, plus fresness as competitive advantage.

The challenge of Piura, Peru's banana farmers is reaching more markets and consumers in more countries around the globe.
Photo: © El Regional de Piura / file.

The organic banana business in Chira Valley has created a sort of competition among the farmers going from  whom is sold to where it's sold.

"... We're the company working with a larger clients diversity in Europe as well as United States," Samán-based Appbosa Coperative (Marcavelica, Sullana) affirms. Established February 2003, it operates in 4,5 sq mi that allows it to reach until 23 weekly containers, according to its website.

Its first client was Dole that bought its production locally but under the transnational's brand. Today it exports directly and has the worldwide recognized Chiquita Banana among its buyers.

In Salitral de Sullana, Solidarian Banana Farmers Association's (BOS like in Spanish) 2000 families became exporting 27 tons to Portugal, the first organic banana shipment in that market acording to Peru's Industry, Foreign Trade and Tourism Ministry. It was projected that BOS, established 2003, opened a market in Spain in Winter-ending but it's unknown howit  worked on after heavy rains from Coastal El Niño.

For this year's second half, they might go in Poland.

Having a market that seems to grow up, what could blur the success of Chira's banana farmers, including black sigatoka? Specialists commented to FACTORTIERRA.NET that producers have to watch the bananas come out and arrive without any bit of chemicals. One only trace of some forbidden substance and "the market brings them down."

Meanwhile, it's time for some snack beneath California's Sun. Will be a good reason for going to the nearest supermarket and getting some bananas?

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