180,550 tons of bananas were exported from the ports of the Caribbean region during the first quarter of 2021, an amount that accounted for 37.1% of the national exports made in that period. These figures suggest that, if the export trend continues, the departments of Magdalena, Cesar, and La Guajira would export more than 720,000 tons of bananas this year, stated by the executive president of the banana union Asbama, Jose Francisco Zuñiga Cotes.
97% of the banana boxes are shipped through the port of Santa Marta, although it is noteworthy that 78% of the exports that leave the port of Cartagena are bound to South Korea. “The two banana marketers that are attached to Asbama are exporting to Korea. It is an extremely interesting market that has quite complex logistics. It takes the bananas we ship about a month to arrive in Korea,” said Zuñiga Cotes.
The Asian market is a great opportunity for the banana sector, which is why the sector is working to strengthen exports of the product, he added. “We have been increasing the areas devoted to bananas for export in Magdalena, Cesar, and La Guajira. In addition, we are going to work to obtain new markets, new allies, to place our bananas that are very popular in the countries where we export them,” he said. "We'll have nearly 18,000 hectares of bananas planted by the end of the year and the beginning of next year."
The increase in the production area is remarkable, taking into account that in 2019 the Caribbean region had a total of 15,562 hectares of bananas in production.