Move follows intensive diplomatic efforts by Ecuadorean government and banana sector

Russia’s Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control Service has lifted its ban on banana exports from five Ecuadorean companies. The announcement was made by Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry on Friday.

Ecuador's ambassador to Russia Juan Fernando Holguín Flores, centre, announcing the decision on Friday

Ecuador’s ambassador to Russia Juan Fernando Holguín Flores, centre, announcing the decision on Friday

Earlier this week, the ministry said it would send a delegation to Russia in a bid to resolve the diplomatic impasse, which has caused deep consternation among exporters since being imposed ten days ago.

The suspension was 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.

Ecuador’s newly appointed ambassador to Russia, Juan Fernando Holguín Flores, said the decision was “an example of the importance of dialogue between the two countries, which have traditionally had a very close and positive relationship”.

Holguín announced that the two countries plan to ”energise” the Intergovernmental Commission for Economic and Trade Cooperation between Ecuador and Russia (CICEC), to ensure that there is direct dialogue between them at all times.

Richard Salazar, executive director of Acorbanec, praised the work done by Ecuadorean president, Daniel Noboa, the Agriculture Ministry, Chancellery and plant health authority Agrocalidad to find a swift resolution to the crisis.

“Russia is strategically important for the Ecuadorean banana sector, taking around 75m boxes annually, which represents 21 per cent of Ecuador’s total banana exports in 2023,: he told Fruitnet.

“We welcome the leadership shown by the authorities, not only in seeking an immediate solution but in supporting the strict adherence to the phytosanitary protocols by our producers.

Salazar pointed out that although five companies were sanctioned, another 60 continued exporting to Russia during the ban. He added: “Russia can count on our bananas and Ecuador will be calmer knowing this measure has been taken. This is a good time to strengthen diplomatic and commercial relations we have with this important market”