Preliminary estimates indicate that the world’s banana exports, excluding plantain (pink banana or male banana), reached a new record of 22.2 million tons (Mt) in 2020, an increase of 1.7% year-on-year, according to a FAO and OECD report.
In particular, strong supply growth in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Colombia, three of the top five exporters, was primarily responsible for this increase.
All three countries reportedly implemented disease mitigation strategies on their plantations in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic and thus were able to minimize disruptions in their ability to supply bananas to world markets.
World banana outlook: Exports by the five major exporters
Going forward, according to these same estimates, the largest exporters in the region, mainly Ecuador, Guatemala, Colombia and Costa Rica, continue to be well positioned to benefit from this increase, assuming that production growth can be protected from the adverse effects of erratic weather events and disease outbreaks.
FAO and OECD expect increased import demand to similarly benefit some Caribbean exporters, notably the Dominican Republic and Belize, as well as African exports, which are forecast to expand by 1% annual. during the outlook period led by Côte d’Ivoire, to reach a total quantity of approximately 750,000 t in 2030.
Meanwhile, exports from the Philippines, the world’s second largest exporter, were hit by serious difficulties stemming from the impact of the pandemic on the country’s banana production, which appears to have had a particularly detrimental effect on small producers.
Consequently, preliminary data and information indicate a 14% contraction in Philippine banana exports in 2020.
On a provisional basis, global banana import quantities stood at approximately 18.9 metric tons in 2020, a mere 0.2% increase over 2019, reflecting pandemic-induced tensions in global supply chains as well. such as tensions in demand in several key import markets.
While demand in the European Union reportedly remained strong, preliminary data indicates an import contraction of 0.1% in the United States, the second-largest importer behind the European Union, due to reduced imports. demand.
More drastically, imports from China, the world’s third-largest banana importer, contracted by about 10% due to supply disruptions experienced in the Philippines.