Late May calamities in Central America affect banana prices
by Tad Thompson | June 17, 2010
Bananas sourced in Central America will be in short supply at least until the
end of June.
Bil Goldfield, communications manager for Dole Fresh Fruit Co. in Westlake
Village, CA, on June 8 told The Produce News, "In the wake of recent natural
events in Latin America, including volcano eruptions in Guatemala and
Ecuador and Tropical Storm Agatha, overall banana volumes will be reduced
and forecast to be tight through the remainder of June."
Freakish events simultaneously hit Guatemala in late May. The Pacaya
volcano, which is 15 miles from Guatemala City, erupted on May 27-28.
Several people were killed, and heavy ash on the capital city and elsewhere
brought a declared national "State of Calamity." On May 29, matters in
Guatemala worsened when Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were
drenched by tropical storm Agatha, which caused flooding and mudslides
that killed at least 180 people.
On June 8, Pete Carcione, owner of Carcione Fresh Produce in South San
Francisco, CA, said, "The volcano is trouble and is delaying some ships from
coming in. Basically, it's going to slow down everything. I hear also that prices
are going up on bananas. The volcano is trouble, and Guatemala had 20
inches of rain in one day. Plus, the volcano played havoc in the supply of
As previously reported by The Produce News, Banana Link on May 31 quoted
Noé Ramirez, general secretary of SITRABI (the Del Monte Banana Workers'
Union), as saying, "Tropical Storm Agatha has caused the River Motagua to
burst its banks, and nine communities and large swathes of the Bandegua
[Del Monte] banana plantations have been completely flooded. We are still not
sure what will happen to our jobs in the plantations, but the farms certainly
look badly affected."
Banana Link continued that Guatemala's "President Alvaro Colom was quoted
as saying that the economic damage caused by Agatha was considerable. In
the border region with El Salvador, he said that at least 80 percent of the
crops were lost. The crops most affected are oil palm, sugar cane and
(For more on bananas, see the June 21, 2010, issue of The Produce News.)