Panama has exported 242,840 tons of bananas so far this year, i.e. 7.1% more than in the same period of the previous year. According to Jose De La Lastra, the director of the sector in the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA), the country's banana production has increased in the last three last years thanks to good management, technological improvement, and the increase in hectares.
The country expects to export another 138,000 tons in 2021 and end the year having exported 5% more bananas than in 2020 with an estimated 200 million dollars in revenues.
Panama's banana sector has 8,000 hectares devoted to this production and employs 33,000 workers. The cultivation is concentrated in the western region of Panama, along the border with Costa Rica, and the exploitation is in charge of the foreign subsidiaries Banapiña, Chiquita Panama, Ilara Holding Inc, and the Coobana cooperative.
In 2020, Costa Rica and Guatemala were the leading exporters of fresh or dried bananas in Central America, followed by Honduras, Panama, and Nicaragua, according to the specialized website CetralaméricaData.com, which highlighted that Panama had the greatest growth.
The United States was the main destination for Panama's banana, accounting for 65% of its exports. It was followed by the Netherlands (10%), United Kingdom (4%), Belgium (3%), Italy (3%), Germany (2%), Spain (1%), and Portugal (1%), according to the publication.
Last year, the average price of Central American banana sales abroad registered a slight upward trend, going from 38 cents per kilogram in January to 41 cents in December.