Costa Rican banana producers are confident that exports will recover in 2016 as conditions in their two principal markets, the US and Europe, continue to improve.
Shipments were down by 9m boxes during 2015 due lower production caused by adverse climatic conditions. This is to equivalent to 9 per cent of the country’s total export volume.
Jorge Sauma, president of national banana corporation Corbana, said the fall was less severe than anticipated earlier in the year when the industry was braced for a 23 per cent decrease in exports. Nevertheless it resulted in a loss of US$80m for the sector.
Corbana said the EU’s decision last year to allow Costa Rican bananas to be granted Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) status was further reason for optimism in the coming year.
The industry recently established a research laboratory of molecular biology and biological control of pests and diseases and a number of patent agreements have been signed for the development of new products to help growers in the future.
“We are moving in the right direction and continue to seek new methods of improving production,” Sauma said.