US-EU Sanctions Hit Latin America’s Banana Growers

Russia is a large consumer of the Latin American banana—but western sanctions have dealt a devastating blow to farmers who can no longer get their products to market.

For Ecuador, the world’s largest exporter of bananas, the setback has been disastrous. Around 25% of Ecuador’s banana exports go to Russia and 90% of all bananas consumed in Russia come from Ecuador. However, commercial ships carrying the bananas can no longer reach the port of St. Petersburg due to sanctions imposed by the US and EU. The sudden drop in demand has left producers with excess supply. Prices have collapsed as a result. 

Richard Salazar, Director of Arcobanec (exporters association) said that Ecuador usually exports bananas for up to $US 5.50 per box. However, the price is now hovering between $US 1.20 and $US 0.05. Farmers say this is not enough to cover the costs of production. 

Bolivian producers have also been hit hard says Augustin Conde, President of the banana growers association of the Trópico of Cochabamba. “Ecuador was exporting around 20% of its production to Russia, and now Russia isn’t buying, so Ecuador has collapsed.. the price of banana [in Bolivia] has reached a low of $1.41 per box. Our cost of production is $3 per box, so we’re losing more than half the cost.” Conde explained that Ecuadorian producers are trying to offload their excess produce to other markets, such as Argentina. This has caused prices to collapse across the board.

Latin America Rejects Russia Sanctions

The US government has been pressuring Latin America to join the campaign of sanctions against Russia, despite the adverse effects these policies are already having on Latin Americans who hold no responsibility for the current conflict in Europe. Not a single Latin American government has imposed its own sanctions on Russia. 

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro said that combating these abuses requires new financial infrastructure outside of US control. At a diplomatic event yesterday, he said, “BRICS has been carrying out important initiatives for the configuration of a new financial system, the configuration of a new monetary system. A new financial system that opens the doors and floodgates to all the countries of the world. A new financial system that does not use international banking as a political instrument to attack countries or to seek regime change, as has been sought in Venezuela.”

By Kawsachun News

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