Philippines Poised to be Second-Largest Banana Exporter in Next 9 Years


Hillside banana farmers keep a sustainable supply of the upland crop delivered to local markets in neighboring provinces up north. The rest go to Metro Manila.

The Philippines is poised to cement its position as the world’s second-largest exporter of bananas in the next nine years on the back of better supply management and high demand from key Asian markets, a United Nations’s agency said.

The projection was disclosed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its recent global banana market review report.

However, FAO clarified that the projections were prepared in January and does not take into consideration the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global banana trade.

The FAO projected the Philippine banana production would continue expand in the following years on the back of “successful disease management and ample investments into yield improvements and area expansion.”

FAO added that global demand for Philippine bananas would be “mainly driven by burgeoning import demand from China, as well as sustained income-driven demand from Japan.” FAO noted that banana per-capita consumption in China is expected to rise by 1.1 percent annually.

“As such, the Philippines is set to expand its volume share in global banana exports from 15.6 percent in the base period to 18.6 percent in 2029, thereby further consolidating its position as the second leading supplier of bananas globally behind Ecuador,” FAO said.

The FAO said world banana production would grow at 1.5 percent annually starting this year to reach 132.6 million metric tons (MMT) in 2029, assuming normal weather conditions and no further spread of banana plant diseases.

The FAO estimated that Asia would remain as the leading global banana-producing region with a volume share of 51.8 percent.

“Demand for bananas is forecast to become increasingly saturated in most regions and primarily driven by population growth,” FAO said in the report.

“However, in some rapidly emerging economies—principally in India and China—fast income growth is anticipated to stimulate changing health and nutrition perceptions and support demand for bananas beyond population growth,” it added.

FAO estimated global banana exports, excluding plantains to have reached a record high of 20.2 MMT in 2019 on the back of strong supply growth from Ecuador and the Philippines, the world’s two leading exporters.

The Philippines was the second-largest exporter of Cavendish bananas for the second consecutive year in 2019, with total shipments reaching a record high of at least 4 MMT, according to FAO.

“The rise is primarily due to another year of strong production growth in the Philippines,” it said. “The Philippines ranks as the largest exporter in the region, accounting for approximately 90 percent of total export volumes from Asia.”

Philippine Statistics Authority data showed that the country exported a record-high 4.4 MMT of bananas last year worth nearly $2 billion, making it the top agricultural export product.

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