Chiquita sticker on banana

Fresh produce giant Chiquita Brands International has been looking at the possibility of investment in Ethiopia's banana industry, with the country seen as a potential source for exports of the fruit to the Middle East market.

Representatives of the US-based multinational recently visited the fruit production hotspot of Abraminch, located 505km south of Addis Ababa, according to reports in national publication Capital Ethiopia.

Sources told the newspaper that Chiquita officials had held talks with farmers and officials from the Ethiopian Horticulture Agency, as well as growers around Abraminch, about banana cultivation and export potential.

Currently, Chiquita exports bananas from Latin America and West Africa to the Middle East, with Ethiopia an attractive option in terms of lowering costs.

'In the current situation, the country's banana production need to improve on what it is now,' the source told Capital Ethiopia.

Ethiopia currently exports bananas to Djibouti, with the rest of the 200,000 tonne-per-year crop heading for domestic consumption.