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Will the banana production be spared?
Tropical depression heading for NicaraguaAt this moment a tropical depression, called sixteen, is expected to go over Nicaragua and then Honduras today with rain which may lead to flooding. It’s expected to strengthen from a depression into a tropical storm soon, which will be named Nate. The Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (Inerte) reported that the depression will be accompanied by tidal waves.
The National Hurricane centre forecasts the centre of the depression should move across North-eastern Nicaragua and Eastern Honduras later today and then move over to the North-western Caribbean sea Thursday night and Friday. It’s expected that the storm will approach the coast of the Mexican Yucatan peninsula late Friday.
Wind speeds are near 55 km/h with higher gusts. If the storm strengthens, this will most likely happen while moving over the sea. The depression brings along a lot of rainfall, expectations given by the National Hurricane Centre for Nicaragua say 15-20 inches, but in some places it may reach 30 inches. After that, Panama and Costa Rica are expected to have rainfall of 5 to 10 inches in general, but it may reach 20 inches in some places. The rainfall will occur over a wider range including locations away from the centre.
The banana sector is suffering from several natural disasters over the past few weeks. It’s an important sector in Central America. According to statistics of CentralAmericanData, In 2016 the leading exporter of fresh and dried bananas in Central America was Costa Rica with $997 million, followed by Guatemala, with $777 million, Honduras, with $510 million, Panama with $92 million Nicaragua with $17 million and El Salvador, with $2 million.
The banana production in Nicaragua had been recovering after bad weather circumstances and drought in 2014 and 2015.2016 had been very positive, according to Enrique Gasteazoro, coordinator of banana exporters of Nicaragua. In a previous article about the growth of banana export he mentions that the bananas are produced mainly in Chinandega and Leon, to the west of the country. As the storm is predicted to move across North-eastern Nicaragua, hopefully the damage will be limited.
The same article mentions the country mainly exports its bananas to the United States, Canada and Europe. This last continent is increasing its import this year, see graph below:
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