Colombia hopes to reach US$1bn in banana exports in 2021, which would represent an increase of 10 per cent on last year’s total.

Emerson Aguirre, president of banana grower association Augura, told Reuters that in spite of Covid-19 and the presence of fusarium wilt TR4 in the country, Colombia had seen an increase in the volume and value of banana exports last year.

Shipments reached 109m (20kg) boxes in 2020, up 9.3 per cent on the previous year, while revenue rose by 6.5 per cent to US$916.2m.

“Although the banana industry was blighted by these two pandemics, our figures were positive versus 2019,” Aguirre said.

He put the good results down to increased per-hectare productivity and better weather in the first half of the year in Uraba, Colombia’s principle banana-growing region.

Bananas are the third most-important agricultural export in Colombia, behind coffee and flowers. The country is the world’s fifth biggest exporter of the fruit.