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Colombian banana industry aiming for 5% volume growth in 2024

The Colombian banana industry is expecting a 5% increase in export volumes during 2024 despite a decrease in hectares planted. According to Dr. Emerson Aguirre Medina, president of the Colombian Banana Growers Association (Augura), "For this year, taking into account the increase in exports that occurred in January and February, and the impact that may occur due to the decrease in rainfall that also occurred in January and will be reflected after mid-April, we expect to close 2024 with a growth of at least 5% in the volume of our exports."

During last season (2023) cumulative exports of 106 million boxes to the value of US$ 969 million compared to the 2022 season where 108 million boxes with a value of US$ 891 million were sold. Colombia's production regions are Urabá with 64 million boxes, Magdalena and Guajira with 42 million boxes.

The top export destinations for Colombian bananas are the European Union that receives 68% of the total volume, followed by the United States with 16% of the volume and the United Kingdom with 15% of the volume. Colombia expects to grow volumes to all of these markets during this 2024 season.

However, there has been a decline in banana hectares planted in Colombia. The El Niño weather phenomenon has played an important role, according to Dr. Aguirre. In the last year, Colombia decreased the number of hectares planted with bananas to 52,209 hectares, which represents a reduction of 1,109 hectares compared to 2022, when 53,318 cultivated hectares were reported. Despite a slight reduction in the number of boxes exported, it is notable that quality was maintained, with an average of 2,023 boxes per hectare during the period analysed.

"It is the sum of several factors. First, the climatic problem, the increased pressure of black sigatoka on those hectares. Secondly, a decrease in their productivity to such levels that they are very far from returning to a point of equilibrium where they are viable. And that is why these declines have occurred," concludes Dr. Aguirre.

For more information:
Dr. Emerson Aguirre Medina
Colombian Banana Growers Association
Email: [email protected]