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The Banana Market Has Held Up Well to the Covid-19 FAO Says

27.11.2020

Among all tropical fruits, the supply chains of bananas, but also avocado, have shown some resistance to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Unlike other tropical fruits, such as pineapple, mango or papaya, bananas do not seem to have been disrupted both in supply and demand by the pandemic, says FAO in its latest edition of Food Outlook.

Thus, in terms of supply, banana plantations, despite the distancing measures and the limitation of movements enacted to limit the spread of the virus, do not seem to have encountered a serious shortage of labor. On the demand side, the drop in consumer incomes as well as the closure of restaurants, schools, canteens or hotels around the world, seem to have been potentially offset by the increase in consumption at home.

Thus, world banana exports, excluding re-exports, from January to July 2020 increased by 2.3% compared to the same period in 2019, reaching a new high of 12.2 million tonnes (Mt) , indicates the FAO, which specifies that these are preliminary data. An increase that seems to have benefited Ecuador with an 8.5% increase in its exports to 4.3 Mt and also in Costa Rica with an increase of 25% to 1.1 Mt. Costa Rica's rebound is following the fall recorded in 2019, bad weather conditions reduced the harvest.

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In terms of imports, they increased by 1.2% over the period from January to June to reach 9.8 Mt. “In the midst of panic purchases induced by confinement on the main import markets, bananas would have benefited product convenience, perceived safety and longer shelf life. As such, bananas were among the most popular fruits as part of consumers' efforts to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables, which were supported by relevant government campaigns in major import markets, particularly in the European Union ”observes the FAO. Thus, net imports of bananas, on the world's largest market, increased by 5.6%. Purchases are also progressing in several key countries, such as the United States, Russia and Japan, while several emerging countries - Poland, Ukraine and Jordan - recorded double-digit growth. While avocado has also held up well, with a 6.9% increase in exports (1.3 Mt from January to July 2020), other tropical fruits were negatively impacted. Thus, world pineapple exports fell by 3.4% to 1.7 Mt from January to July and imports by 10.3% in the first half of the year, affected by the containment and closure of the hotel sector. For the mangoes, mangosteen and guava group, exports contracted by 4.9% (1.2 Mt).

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