Russian call for suspension of certificates of five banana exporters generates concern within the sector

Ecuador bananas

Russia is the biggest single market for Ecuadorean bananas

Russian plant health authorities have asked Ecuador to suspend the certification of five banana exporting companies on phytosanitary grounds. The move is believed to be a response to a decision by the Ecuadorean government to deliver Russian military equipment to the US in exchange for US$200m of new equipment.

Russia said it would also halt imports of Ecuadorean carnations from 9 February, a week before Valentine’s Day, threatening to cause serious damage to flower exporters.

Russia is the biggest single market for Ecuadorean bananas, taking more than 75m boxes in 2023, equivalent to 21 per cent of Ecuador’s total shipment volume, according to Acorbanec.

The five companies are Agzulasa, Don Carlos Fruit, Agroaerero Fruit Export, Association of Agricultural Production of El Oro (Asoproagroro) and the Banana Marketing Company of the South (Comersur).

On 2 February, the Russian Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control Service, Rosseljoznadzor, asked Ecuador’s agriculture minister Franklin Palacios to suspend the certification of the five banana plantations in the country after what it termed “the systematic detection of the Megaselia scalaris fly in consignments of Ecuadorean bananas, which is dangerous for Russia and the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union”.

Rosseljoznadzor indicated that if the Ecuadorian authorities do not take effective measures, Russia will be forced to move to the next stage of introducing restrictive measures.

A source from the Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries, said the government was evaluating its response to Russia’s request.

“At this moment, meetings are being held at the highest level that allow us to take a position as a country,” the source told La Republica.