U.S. banana imports from Latin America rose slightly in 2011
U.S. banana imports from Latin America grew by 14.5% to 227.2 million boxes over the three years to 2011, website Portafolio.co reported.
However, in 2011 the figure only rose by 0.7% from 225.6 million boxes.
Guatemala accounted for 32% of exports followed by Ecuador at 21%, Costa Rica at 20%, Honduras with 11%, Colombia at 9%, Mexico with 4% and Nicaragua with 1%.
Guatemala’s proximity to the U.S. gives it a competitive edge along with a favorable exchange rate, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Banana grower-distributor Turbana said despite growth the industry faced a number of challenges including rising labor, raw material and fuel costs, which are diminishing producers’ income.
Turbana added increased productivity would shape the industry in the future with inefficient producers being absorbed by efficient ones.
The company said more innovation was needed in the industry to tackle new trends such as greater direct purchase of bananas in the supermarkets.
Banana boxes are typically 18.14 kilogram with 55 boxes equalling 1 metric ton (MT).