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Revista Ciencias Técnicas Agropecuarias

versión On-line ISSN 2071-0054

Rev Cie Téc Agr vol.30 no.4 San José de las Lajas oct.-dic. 2021  Epub 01-Dic-2021



Economic-Technical Evaluation of Banana Pulp Processing Plant in El Oro Province, Ecuador

Ing. Cristhian Andrés Encalada-Sanmartin1

MSc. Segress García-Hevia1

1Universidad de Guayaquil, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Guayaquil, Ecuador.


The objective of this study is to carry out an economic evaluation on the implementation of a pulp processing plant, as a sustainable alternative for the San Martín Cuenca (INSANC) company in the Las Cañas sector in Machala. The primary information was collected through the bibliographic review available on the pulp production process, based on an economic profitability analysis. For this, observation and interview techniques were used. For the economic evaluation, the costs that will affect the implementation of a banana pulp processing plant in the study area were determined. As main results, it was obtained that the main activities for the process of obtaining frozen pulp are reception and selection of the fruit, peeling and chopping, pulping, pasteurization, packaging, sealing and labeling and cold storage. Total variable costs are more than double the value of fixed costs, resulting in a total cost of production of $ 562,519.56. The frozen banana pulp production process for the INSANC enterprise has a profitability of 24.38%, with a value of the cost / weight indicator of 0.80 USD.

Keywords: economic evaluation; profitability; cost / weight; frozen pulp


Ecuador is the largest producer and exporter of bananas in the world and its international presence is increasing, with an annual average of foreign sales of close to six million metric tons sold in the different continents (León et al., 2018).

A market study at the local and regional level provides information about prices, purchasing preferences, presentations and other aspects of the market. Thanks to its nutritional properties, bananas are a basic product of the family basket, consumed by children, youth and adults in a variety of preparations. The production of this fruit has been studied by various authors Capa et al. (2016) & Castricini et al. (2017)

According to INEC- Ecuador (2020) the area planted with bananas nationwide was 190,381 hectares. The El Oro province reached a production of 1,649 t .Standing out as the third most productive province in the country, contributing 25.05% with respect to the national production of this crop. It is in the same position in the contribution of total planted area (24.06%). Being the Cavendish variety one of those that offers greater resistance to diseases, this fruit is available throughout the year (Vargas, 2018).

Canales (2015), states that the traditional world consumption of bananas has been in its natural state, that is, fresh fruit. However, in recent years trends are developing to also consume processed banana products, so much so that now we can find the pulp in juices, jams, jellies, flour, dehydrated banana, puree, banana chips, others, consumed with higher frequency. In Ecuador, processed bananas are not having the importance they deserve, since, of the total export of bananas, only 18% corresponds to processed products (Morales, 2013).

Pineda (2003), describes that one of the characteristics of fruit and vegetable products is their perishable nature, either due to endogenous causes (enzymatic reactions) or due to exogenous causes (physical-chemical agents), which confers a limited useful life. To prevent this problem, processes were developed that allow to achieve a longer period of use of the same, one of these alternatives is the extraction of fruit pulp and then preserve them by freezing, this method, mainly allows to extend the useful life of the product.

The pulp is the pasty product, not diluted, neither concentrated, nor fermented, obtained by the disintegration and sieving of the edible fraction of fresh, healthy, ripe and clean fruits (NTC 404, 1998).

An industrial process only has market stability and commercialization prospects if its economic aspect is favorable, so it must be technically legitimate and economically attractive (Turton et al., 2018). Profitability is one of the most relevant indicators to measure the success of a business. His concept has taken different forms and has been used in different ways. According to Moina & Torres (2015), they declare that profitability is the percentage relationship expected or obtained between the capital invested and the net returns on the investment.

Expenses are expenditures in which the enterprise incurs and that results in capital decreases, within the expenses there are two large groups that are: the cost of the product, that is, the cost of the item to be manufactured in the case of an enterprise industrial and the rest of the expenses that the enterprise necessarily has to incur to fulfill the operations process (Santiesteban et al., 2011).

Due to the large production volumes, the harvest peaks and a percentage of fruit that does not meet the quality standards required for export, a considerable volume of losses are generated. In order to prevent the number of losses from being greater and in order to produce food with greater durability, in addition to closing the production cycle, it is necessary to search for alternatives. Therefore, in this study, the INSANC enterprise is taken as a reference to carry out an economic evaluation on the implementation of a pulp processing plant, serving as a reference to other producers in the town.


Characterization of the study area

The market study for the commercialization of bananas was carried out in Las Cañas sector, Machala, El Oro province. Defining the potential clients for bananas in their different forms of commercialization in the study area with these results and the interview with the entrepreneur was made a SWOT matrix to the INSANC enterprise as a reference, but applicable to other producers in the area who wish to undertake undertakings in this area. The economic study of profitability to implement a pulp processing plant was carried out in areas of the INSANC enterprise where the applicant works as an engineer.

The interview with the entrepreneur showed that the enterprise Investments San Martin Cuenca (INSANC) has among its main objectives the production and marketing of fresh bananas for international markets, with a total area of 72 hectares dedicated to this crop. They have more than 30 years of experience in the field and the bulk of their production is used for the sale of fresh fruit to the Blarriom Corporation for subsequent export. Despite being a enterprise with high production volumes suitable for export that range between 51800 to 64750 kg/day throughout the year, it is necessary to highlight that there is a volume of rejected bananas that fluctuates between 800 to 1200 kg/day, which at first glance could be considered that it does not affect the income levels of said enterprise, but that in practice has proven to be a burden that the entity must solve and that will contribute to increasing income levels, in addition to contributing to its economic stability in the current prevailing conditions of price fluctuations, and breaches of contracts part of the corporations.

Methodology for the production process of frozen pulp

The applied methodology was based on the review of available bibliographic information on the pulp production process, with a view to proposing the installation of a frozen banana pulp processing plant at INSANC, based on an economic profitability analysis. For this, observation and interview techniques were used.

Methodology for economic evaluation

As stated by Brizuela (1987); Peters & Timmerhaus (1991) & Tovar (1991), there is a group of parameters that indicate the behavior of production and allow evaluating its economic efficiency, which are shown below.

Production value (PV)

The value of production is the economic value of what is produced, also known as income, which depends on the volume of production and the unit value of the product. This income resulting from the sale of the products constitutes the third and last component that is needed to economically evaluate a process.

Vp=pup*N (1)



Production value (USD)


Unit price of the product (USD/kg)


Production volume (kg)

Production profit (G)

The profit or economic utility is determined as the difference between the value of production and the total cost of production.

G=VP-CP (2)



Production profit (USD)


Total production cost (USD)

CP=Cf+Cv (3)



fixed costs (USD)


variable costs (USD)

Product unit cost (USD)

The unit cost is the cost generated by each unit of production. Its value is always fixed for the same level of efficiency.

cup=CP/N (4)



Unit cost of the product (USD)


The breakeven or zero profit point is the point of activity (sales volume) where the total revenue received equals the costs associated with manufacturing a product; that is, it is the volume of production for which there is no profit or loss. It is commonly used in industrial plants to determine the possible profitability of selling a certain product. This indicator depends on the total fixed cost, the unit price of the product and the variable unit cost.

No=Cf/(pup-cuv) (5)

cuv=CV/N (6)



breakeven (kg)


variable unit cost (USD/kg)


The profibility measures the relationship between monetary results of an activity and the means used to obtain them. These results economical and financer’s objective of enterprise

Rent=G/CP (7)



Profibility (%)

Production cost per USD

It is one the most used indicators to define the economic efficiency of a productive management. It constitutes the relationship between the cost of production and the value of production, which turns out to be the cost of each USD produced (C/USD).

CP=CPVP  (8)


Production process to obtain frozen banana pulp

Through the study of different bibliographies Merlo (2009); Guzmán (2014); Sinha et al. (2012; 2014); Moina & Torres (2015); Aldana & Rivas (2016); Valarezo (2018) the Flow Diagram to follow for the elaboration of frozen banana pulp (Figure 1).

The reception and selection of raw material is a manual process where the worker carries out the reception and separation of the ripe bananas from the spoiled ones (with fungi) and from the unripe ones in order to obtain the best raw material. The weighing is carried out for a better use of the raw material and to continue with the necessary quantities in the recipe, being carried out by means of an industrial scale. Fruit washing is carried out by immersion in order to be able to eliminate impurities, which is why these are introduced into large containers of water. During the pre-selection, peeling and chopping, any other fruit that may have lacked the required quality is eliminated and its peel and crown are removed manually, to proceed to obtain the banana pulp.

Pulping is a semi-automatic activity, in which the pulp of the banana is separated from the seeds. During this operation, an anti-oxidative treatment is developed using enzymes that prevent the oxidation of the fruit such as ascorbic acid to stabilize the color and citric acid to adjust the pH. The first in a proportion of 0.30% and the second in 0.05% of the pulp weight (Reinoso, 2016).

FIGURE 1 Flow Diagram of the Banana Pulp Production Process. 

In pasteurization, a temperature thermal shock is carried out in order to eliminate all types of micro-organisms that affect the quality of the product, guaranteeing a longer shelf life and reducing the risk of fermentation. The heat treatment will be carried out in a kettle with a stirrer to maintain the homogeneity of the product. This process reaches a temperature of 80ºC with a retention time of 8 min.

After this, the quality control will be carried out. This is a support phase to the normal production process, it consists of taking a random sample of pulp to carry out an organoleptic analysis, in order to control the flavor, odor, color, texture, acidity, pH, brix, of the pulp, so that they meet the established parameters. For the execution of these, it is planned to hire the services of trained professionals with experience in the field (Muñoz et al., 2012).

The hot pulp is carefully transferred to the filler where it is packed and sealed, an activity that is carried out in an automatic packaging and sealing machine for liquids, fruit pulp and viscous products, which packs, seals, doses and dates the product. vacuum according to the content already established by the enterprise (Clark, 2009). The pulp will be packed in polyethylene bags. The sealed bags are immersed in a tank with clean water at room temperature for 5 min and then spread out on a table so that the bags are dried with the heat that still preserves the product.

Once the bags are dry, adhere the label in the center of the package, taking care that it is not twisted or wrinkled. This label will include the brand, enterprise name, contact number for after-sales care, nutritional table.

The storage is carried out in a cold room at a temperature of -180 ºC to -200 ºC and the distribution will have to be in a truck that allows to maintaining the cold chain with a temperature of -40 ºC. According to Merlo (2009), this preservation method has an advantage over fresh fruits and other types of preserves, allowing to extend the useful life of the product.

Economic evaluation

The establishment of the plant to obtain banana pulp is proposed within an area of the INSANC enterprise, therefore, for the economic evaluation; some expenses are not taken into account, which are assumed by enterprise.

Production value

Within the parameters that indicate the behavior of production and allow evaluating its economic efficiency, is the value of production (Table 1). This is determined taking into account the production process for the banana pulp described above, their respective yields per activity and the amount of banana rejected in one day (raw material to be processed). Based on the quantity of bananas rejected daily in the enterprise (1,200 kg), a daily production of 958 kg of finished product is estimated, which is equivalent to 1,916 500-g bags. The final product is the frozen pulp sealed under vacuum, in such a way that the nutritional properties of the fruit can be preserved, pretending to be commercialized in the local market at a price of 2 USD/ kg.

TABLE 1 Annual production value 

Description Year of the inversion
Amount of banana pulp (kg) 349 845
Price of the product or service (USD) 2
Product income (USD) 699 690
Total incomes 699 690

Production profit

To determine the profits, the total production costs are determined, among which are: investment on raw materials, wages and the machines and equipment involved in the process.

Among the variable costs are the raw materials, which correspond to the ingredients that will be part of the banana pulp, such as ascorbic acid and citric acid; in addition to the packaging material that will be in contact with food (Table 2). In this case, the main raw material (banana) is not taken into account in the process, as this is nothing more than the fruit rejected during exportation in the enterprise, hence the cost of the same can be disregarded.

TABLE 2 Variable costs 

Variable costs Amount Unit cost USD Total Cost USD
Raw materials
Ascorbic acid 1049,53 kg 344.5 361563.08
Citric acid 174,92 kg 69.0 12069.48
Material & packaging
Polyethylene bags 3 498 packs of 200 bags of 500 g 31 108438
Labels 3 600 units 0.50 1800
Total 483870.56

The total variable cost is USD 483,870.56 for the annual production of 349,845 kg of banana pulp, 699,600 500-g bags being necessary for the container.

Fixed costs are determined by adding the salaries of the personnel in charge of directly operating the machinery through which the product passes and the investment costs for the creation of the plant (Table 3 & Table 4).

TABLE 3 Salary costs 

No. Operation Unit Measure Amount Monthly unit values Annual Total
1 Raw material transfer people 1 400 4800
2 Reception & selection people 1 400 4800
3 Weighing people 1 400 4800
4 Washed people 2 400 9600
5 Pre-selection, peeled & chopped people 2 400 9600
6 Pulped people 1 400 4800
7 Quality control people 2 500 12000
7 Pasteurization people 1 400 4800
8 Packaging, sealing & labeling people 2 400 9600
Annual Total 64 800

Investment costs are made based on the flow diagram and the material balanced, leaving proposal of equipment for the production of frozen banana pulp in order to satisfy the daily demand required for the target market. The technology to use for banana pulp fabrication is semi mechanized and the major costs equipment are: Pulping machine, pot, sealer packaging machine, and cold room (Table 4).

TABLE 4 Machinery and equipments investment costs 

Machinery and equipment Amount Unit Cost USD Total Cost USD
Weighing machine (300 Kg) 1 230 170
Fruit selection table 1 450 450
Fruit peeling table 1 450 450
Cutting and slicing fruit table 1 450 450
Fruit knives 2 set of 12 knives 15 30
Pulper 500kg/ hora 1 1500 1500
Pot 500 Kg/h 1 2 900 2900
Packaging-sealing 1 5 399 5399
Cold room 1 2 500 2500
Investment total costs 13849

The establishment of the plant is proposed in an infrastructure that is within the enterprise itself, so that for this study the investment cost is not taken into account. In addition to this, the vats for washing the fruits and for cooling the pulp once it is made do not include these costs either, since the enterprise already has these resources. Total investment costs reach $ 13,849.

Table 5 shows the results of the economic indicators of the production process, showing that the total variable costs reach more than double the value of the fixed costs, resulting in a total cost of 562,519.56 USD. As a result, the production value is USD 699,690, which is clearly higher than the production cost, resulting in a positive profit (USD 137,170.44).

TABLE 5 Results of the economic indicators of the production process 

Indicator Values Units
Variable costs 483870,56 USD
Fixed costs 78 649 USD
Production cost 562519,56 USD
Production value 699690 USD
Profits 137170,44 USD
Product´s unit cost 1,60 USD/ kg
Breakeven 126853,22 kg
Profitability 24,38 %
Cost/USD 0,80

The unit cost of the product is $ 1.60/ kg, so since the unit price is $ 2, it means that it is less expensive to produce than to purchase it, and that for each unit of product there will be a profit of $ 0.40. Another indicator related to this is the cost per weight, which when determined gives a value of 0.80, which implies that the cost of producing 1 USD will be 80 cents.

The breakeven point that must be reached to cover the total production costs is 126,853.22 kg. This means that that will be the production volume for the zero profit. The lower the equilibrium point compared to the production volume, the greater the profit

In the specialized literature, it is recorded that the acceptable profitability for the chemical industry in general is 17% Turton et al. (2018), and in this case this indicator exceeds the established limit, with a value of 24.38%, so it can be said that the process is profitable.


  • The main activities for the process of obtaining frozen pulp are reception and selection of the fruit, peeling and chopping, pulping, pasteurization, packaging, sealing and labeling and cold storage.

  • Total variable costs are more than double the value of fixed costs, resulting in a total cost of production of $ 562,519.56.

  • The frozen banana pulp production process for the INSANC enterprise has a profitability of 24.38%, with a USD / cost indicator value of USD 0.80.


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The mention of trademarks of specific equipment, instruments or materials is for identification purposes, there being no promotional commitment in relation to them, neither by the authors nor by the publisher

Received: February 25, 2021; Accepted: September 20, 2021

*Author for correspondence: Cristhian Andrés Encalada-Sanmartin -mail:

Cristhian Andrés Encalada-Sanmartin, Estudiante Maestría en Agropecuaria, mención Agronegocios. Universidad de Guayaquil, Ecuador, e-mail:

Segress García-Hevia, Profesora, Universidad de Guayaquil, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Guayaquil, Ecuador, e-mail:,

The authors of this work declare no conflict of interests.

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