Will we see the end of bananas?
As there’s talk in the press of a banana ‘apocalypse’ we’ve got our expert team together here at The SH Pratt Group to discuss the current situation. As owners of one of the largest ripening centers in Europe their expertise is invaluable.
What’s the story behind the news?
The banana supply has been problematic with weather conditions around the Caribbean basin, Costa Rica and Columbia. We’re coping well with this and have a very careful and considered procurement strategy. We have great relationships with several growers in different countries that allows us to import the best quality bananas.
Should the UK be looking for new sources of Bananas?
Even through Bananas are shipped green they do have limited shelf life. The problem is the logistics of shipping bananas. Central & South America are still key areas for us. We also look to West Africa as an option, but we believe we get the best quality from our existing sources.
Which new sources look most promising?
India is one of the largest producers of Bananas in the world and is accessible but not quite ready yet. Countries such Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras have potential and are growing in production.
How are we dealing with the challenges of Brexit?
The full challenge of Brexit isn’t clear yet, as it can affect so many factors of our business even though our importing & trading is completed outside of Europe. The final agreement will need to ensure balanced trade for European and Non-European shipping routes and rights for workforces in order to limit impact on the whole of the food industry.
Panama disease and the banana industry
This is a major threat to the global banana industry. We must try to find different varieties or hybrid varieties that can cope with different strains of the disease. Panama disease has not spread to South America yet, and so precautions are being taken in plantations to protect the stems. There are already a lot of plans in place where the Local Governments in the production countries are highly involved to avoid/control this disease.