The country's main market for this fruit

Panama will increase banana exports to the German market

According to data from the National Directorate of Bananas, banana exports increased 8.63% in 2013 amounting to 14.3 million boxes and $90.4 million dollars in revenues, the highest numbers since 2008.

Bocas Fruit Company (Botco), a subsidiary of Chiquita, still concentrates most of the country's banana production with 13.2 million boxes, which generated 85.2 million dollars in revenues, i.e. a 12.82% increase.

But not all producers did well last year. By the end of 2013, Agricola del Atlantico, for example, had declined 35%; Embasa, 36%. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Banana Cooperative (Coobana) increased by 7% and had revenues amounting to $5 million dollars.

In 2013, European countries were the main destinations of Panamanian banana exports. The country exported 14.1 million boxes to these destinations, 44.89% more than in the previous year. Trade with the United States fell by 96% as only 144,996 boxes where shipped to that destination last year.

The main European market for Panamanian exports was Germany, with 6.4 million boxes, which represent 45% of total exports. Belgium followed with 2.1 million and Georgia with 1.4 million.

In 2012, the main markets had been Sweden, with 5.9 million cases, the United States, with 3.3 million, and Italy with 2.6 million cases.

The average price per case in 2013 was U.S. $6.46. Coobana achieved the best price in the international market, averaging $8.58 per box. Embasa averaged $8.28, Agricola del Atlantico $7.03, and Bofco $6.27.

Banana production covers 6,412 hectares with yields of 2,230 boxes per hectare, and creates more than 6,600 jobs.

Panama exported 1.1 million more boxes in 2013 than in the previous year.

The national director of bananas, Felix Barría Stanziola said the fall in exports to the United States was due to the economic situation that country continues to face and to the tariff preferences they have been giving their former colonies.

He disclosed that they were taking steps to ensure that transnational companies became interested in producing bananas in the Darien province, specifically in the Chucunaque Valley, which has lands suitable for the cultivation of fruit, with lots of water and hand labour available.

And in that sense, proposals have already been submitted to Del Monte, Dole and banana producers from the Canary Islands.

Source: Capital Financiero

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