Why Banana Availability Can Vary So Much

Why Banana Availability Can Vary So Much

Organics Unlimited grows most of the organic bananas in Mexico. We chose the location of our farms based on its fertile soil, abundant rainfall and warm climate. However, like any area that is good for growing, there is risk based on weather issues. For us, it is usually tropical storms, including strong winds, heavy rains and hurricanes, but it can also be below normal temperatures. This year in southern Mexico we have seen damage due to strong winds, and we have been in the path of several hurricane force tropical storms. We’d like you to understand a bit of what this can mean for us and for you as a distributor or retailer.

Storms can cause damage to our crops, as the winds we had in July did. When we have localized heavy winds like this, it is difficult for the particular farm that is hit by the storm. Over the years we have diversified our farming to eliminate some of the overall risk. We now have farms in multiple areas in Mexico, as well as in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. Storms won’t usually hit all of these areas at once, and that helps us to fill the needs of our customers even as we are going through a clean-up and replanting process. Along with diversification, we have also learned through years of successful growing how to develop our farms to withstand some of the issues of heavy rains through proper drainage. It is in our best interest, as it is in yours, to have as little loss from the elements as possible.

The second issue with risks due to storms is transit. If a storm is very localized, this is not a problem. And with our bananas coming from Mexico by truck, we don’t face significant long-term risks from delays in transportation. For bananas that are being transported from growing to market via ocean freight, tropical storms can raise havoc. Ships can be delayed at sea, ports can be closed on either end of the shipment, and perishable bananas can reach their destinations much later than originally anticipated. Most bananas that come to the US are transported by ocean-going freighters, and this can be a particular risk for product we bring to market from Ecuador. In this case, it is often an overall problem of availability because it is a risk that is encountered by all banana growers. Our trucking capabilities from Mexico help to alleviate this during the worst conditions.

Since all bananas are imported to the US, delays in ports of entry are always something we consider. Because we have a good reputation with the land ports, we thankfully do not see delays with our trucks. However, government and labor issues in many of the sea ports have created some problems for us in the past year or two. As a company, we will always try to mitigate these issues with supplies that we can bring from Mexico or from other areas. But this is always something of which we need to be mindful.

As always, Organics Unlimited appreciates the support of our loyal customers. And we pledge to give you the best service, availability and pricing possible. We hope that the information here is helpful to making buying bananas as risk-free a process as possible for our customers.

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