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Turkmenistan ranks last in the world in banana consumption

Bananas have long been the undisputed leader in the global fruit trade. Moreover, they are among the most accessible and consumed fruits year-round in many countries worldwide.

However, analysts at EastFruit have noticed an intriguing phenomenon: Central Asian countries seem to have a lukewarm affinity for bananas. Consumption of these fruits in countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan remains relatively low. What's the reason behind this, and how many bananas are consumed in these countries?

Kazakhstan leads in per capita banana consumption among these nations, with analysts estimating an annual consumption of about 4.5 kg per person. For comparison, Uganda tops the global chart with 270 kg per person per year, 60 times more than Kazakhstan.

Returning to Central Asia, Uzbekistan ranks second in consumption, reaching 4 kg per person annually, while Kyrgyzstan is at a similar level. However, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan stand out in this region. Tajikistan consumes only about 2.3 kg per person annually, but Turkmenistan, according to analysts, consumes a mere 160 grams per person per year. In other words, the average Turkmen consumes less than one banana annually.

Remarkably, this makes Turkmenistan one of the global anti-leaders in banana consumption. Even North Korea exceeds it with 0.2 kg per person per year.

Andriy Yarmak, an economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), explains, "The low banana consumption in Central Asian countries is due to the distance from port infrastructure, making logistics expensive. Additionally, many countries in the region face high tariffs and non-tariff barriers hindering the import of exotic fruits. Lastly, comparatively low prices of local fruits, especially during their peak production season, play a role."

Interestingly, the region is becoming a significant exporter of fresh fruit and vegetable products, which may lead to increased openness to imports. Such trends are already noticeable in Uzbekistan.


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