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Dominican Republic banana exports continue to grow

Despite the havoc caused by the terrible black sigatoka plague, banana exports to Europe, United States and other countries continue to grow and the Dominican Republic remains a leader in the sale of organic bananas to the international market. In 2005 exports totalled U.S. $ 45 million dollars and in 2010, 127 million.

The black sigatoka's attack on banana and plantain plantations has been so intense that the Ministry of Agriculture says it has invested 345 million pesos (over 8 million dollars) in recent years in programs to control this disease that can destroy this fruit's crops. Bananas, it is claimed, are the most intertropical consumed fruit in the world.

The fruit is yellow when it ripens and is sweet and fleshy, rich in carbohydrates, potassium, vitamins A and C. The banana is much richer in calories than most fruits because of its high starch content.

It is grown in more than 130 countries; from Southeast Asia, where it originated, to Oceania and South America. The world's largest producer is India, where nearly a quarter of the fruit marketed in the world is grown, although much of this is for domestic consumption. The main exporter is Ecuador, which makes up almost one third of global exports.

Only wheat, rice and corn surpass the volume of banana and plantain production. The fruit's continuous production throughout the year makes it a especially valuable food in the time between harvests in tropical countries.

Based on studies of Agrifood Production Chains, carried out by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the apparent consumption of bananas in the country based on the annual average between 2000 and 2005 is around 361.135 metric tons (about 30,095 tons per month).


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