Published: 04/17/2009 - Updated: 02/11/2014
The importance of the ecological or organic banana crop in Peru is indisputable, and is that in the past 5 years have increased their exports, according to the Ministry of Agriculture in that country. Indeed, data from the Department of Agribusiness Minago, in 2003 the annual export volume was 18 thousand tonnes, while in 2008 was more than four times to reach 78 thousand tons, equivalent to a worth 45.5 million dollars.
2009 promises further increases in these data. Already, between January and February this year, the value of exports of organic bananas increased by 35% over the same period in 2008.
So said the ministry planned to provide for 2009 increased 20%, with a turnover of 55 million dollars. The European Union (EU) has established itself as the main destination for Peruvian exports of organic bananas with 60% of the total, followed by other markets such as United States, with 31% of the total, and Japan with 9%.
Regarding the price of organic bananas in Peruvian version, the difference is between the two U.S. dollars cash organic bananas ($ 9) and conventional ($ 7).
The second largest exporter of this fruit is the Dominican Republic, with exports worth millions of dollars 42'5.
The cultivation of bananas and ecological approach
There is no denying that the banana is now one of the most consumed and quoted fruit in the world. And their culture presents an enemy that interferes with natural Underdevelopment: the plant is suffering from a disease, "Black Sigatoka", in the main producing countries.
Bananas are produced in large monocultures, in which they apply enormous doses of poison, pesticide, fungicide, and not just because of the Black Sigatoka, as before suffering another illness, called Mal de Panama. The intensive use of pesticides led to a great imbalance to such an extent that today we can say that the cultivation of bananas is totally artificial.
However, there are new possibilities and proposals for the cultivation of bananas, for example in the framework of an ecological approach. The ecological process in banana cultivation provides what might be called "autonomy" to the farmer because can compete with quality and social sustainability providing a crop which is in the process of losing economic viability and biodiversity.
The example of Ecuador
Ecuadorians, warn when the presence of black Sigatoka, resort to fungicides indiscriminately, to the extent that some producers who saw them would consume all their winnings. It is placed in a circuit by which the more fungicides are used, creating more resistance to the Sigatoka fungus, which leads to having to apply higher doses. From there, producers had started to rehearse agroecological practices, as part of a process that is to find balance in their soil: physical, biological and chemical weapons to strengthen the plants. It is known that sigatoka enters the scene when there is a supersaturation of water in the soil, which accelerates premature aging of the leaf by promoting the development of the fungus. Thus a soil with more organic matter is crucial for plants to provide increased resistance to the fungus.
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The second part is to nurture the plant through biofertilizers. Biofertilizers are not new, but represent a new technology in modern agriculture. Ecuador began to take on a fantastic result, to produce plants resistant to a healthy and balanced metabolism.
The advantage is that using a technology that, unlike GM, is produced in the same property of the producer, and no pesticide residues, yielding a banana with quality and more nutritious. A banana that has between 28 and 30 percent more vitamins and minerals, and 30 percent more dry matter, thus better preserved.
So reducing the use of fungicides leads to new options in agriculture. For those who have the necessary environmental conditions for this crop (the Ecuadorian, Costa Ricans, Colombians, etc) is the best move to an ecologically balanced production.
About the author
I had no idea Peru was such a big banana producer! I was just visiting Peru (well…not “just”) in 2008 and I had a wonderful time. It would be really interesting to go back some time and visit some of those banana farms. It seems like Peru has a lot of hidden jewels, and I would love to go back sometime and check them out again!