Imported bananas lead international trade in fresh fruits

Imported bananas lead the world’s international fresh fruit trade, both in terms of volume and value.

At the same time, according to a 2022 publication by The Packer, bananas were the most popular item in the produce section, purchased by 63% of U.S. consumers in the last 12 months.

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc, the third largest marketer of bananas in the United States, notes that bananas are one of the best-selling fresh fruits in the United States.

With a year-on-year growth of 3.2%, U.S. banana imports were $2.892 billion in 2022, placing it in the first position among the largest importers of this fruit in the world.

Conversely, U.S. banana exports totaled $508 million last year, an advance of 7.9 percent.

While the United States is among the 10 largest banana exporters globally, this ranking is led by Ecuador, whose foreign sales totaled $3.5 billion in 2021.

Bananas have a relatively short growing cycle and are grown in tropical areas with humid climates and heavy rainfall, such as Central and South America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa.

In these locations, bananas are grown year-round, although demand and prices fluctuate depending on the relative supply of bananas and the availability of seasonal and alternative fruit.

Imported bananas

Fresh Del Monte Produce grows bananas on company-controlled farms in Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Philippines, Panama, and Brazil, and purchases bananas from independent growers in Guatemala, the Philippines, Ecuador, and Colombia.

In 2022, this company produced approximately 45% of the volume of bananas it sold on company-controlled farms, and purchased the remainder from independent growers.

Although its supply contracts are mainly long-term, it also makes spot market purchases, mainly in Ecuador.

In Ecuador and Costa Rica, there are minimum export prices for banana sales that are established and periodically reviewed by the respective governments.

In the Philippines, the company purchases most of its bananas through long-term contracts with independent growers.

Approximately 75% of its bananas from the Philippines are supplied by a single grower, representing 11% of the Philippine banana industry volume in 2022.

In the Philippines, the company has leased approximately 4,200 hectares of land where it has planted around 3,450 hectares of bananas for the Asian and Middle Eastern markets.


Redacción Opportimes