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Imported bananas occupying mid-to-high-end market in China

China is the world's second largest producer and consumer of bananas, second only to India. Banana is the tropical fruit with the largest global trade volume and number of trading countries and regions. It is grown in more than 130 countries, with Asia being the world's largest production and consumption region. Latin America is the world's main banana export region, accounting for about 3/4 of the global export volume.

In recent years, the harvest area and production in China have been declining year by year. From 2009 to 2019, the harvest area in the country was more than 5 million mu, but it has been decreasing since 2015, as well as production. As a result of the typhoons in 2014, the harvest area in the main production areas was 880,000 mu lower, and the product was in short supply, which stimulated growers’ enthusiasm in expanding the planted area. In 2015, the harvest area reached 6.14 million mu, and production reached 12.47 million tons, the highest numbers seen in the past decade. In the most recent years, due to the frequent occurrence of banana wilt, high production costs, and the impact of competitive land use by other cash crops, the harvest area, and production have decreased despite a better market.

With the development of industrialization in the banana industry, except for Tianbao, a local variety, is still being grown in Fujian, the main varieties grown in major production areas are becoming the same. Through the continuous adjustment of the industry, the main production areas for each season immerged - the dominant areas for autumn production are Guangxi and Fujian, for winter production is Yunnan, and for summer are Hainan and Guangdong.

China's import volume has been increasing year by year, with more than half of its imports coming from the Philippines. Imported bananas are favored by more and more consumers for their high quality, occupying the mid-to-high-end consumer market in China. In 2019, the shortage of locally-grown bananas stimulated the imported banana market. The top three sources of imports that year were the Philippines, Ecuador, and Vietnam, with import volumes of 1.033 million tons (53.3%), 459,000 tons (23.7%), and 278,000 tons (14.3%) respectively.

The volume of Chinese exports continues to grow, but the total volume is small. Chinese bananas are mainly for domestic consumption. At the same time, due to their high production costs and low quality as a whole, the export volume is not large. Exports are mainly for Hong Kong, Macao, and several neighboring countries. From 2015 to 2019, the lowest export volume seen was 7,600 tons in 2015, and the highest volume was 23,300 tons in 2019. The main export destinations in 2019 were Hong Kong, North Korea, Mongolia, Macau, and Russia.

Source: NCWXJT

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