After last year’s drop in shipments, the country plans to increase banana exports in 2024

Colombia, the world’s fifth biggest banana exporter, says it is on course to increase shipments by 5 per cent this year after last year’s drop in productivity.

Emerson Aguirre of Augura

Emerson Aguirre of Augura

The country exported 105.5m boxes (20kg) of bananas last year, 2.3 per cent less than the 108.1m boxes shipped in 2022. The fall was due to excessive rainfall affecting productivity on the country’s 53,000ha of planted area, which increased the incidence of Black Sigatoka. Despite this, the value of exports grew 8.7 per cent to US$969.1m versus US$891.8m in 2022.

Speaking to Reuters, Emeron Aguirre, president of Colombian banana grower association Augura, said the rise in value was down to better marketing of the fruit.

“This year we are aiming to grow our exports by at least 5 per cent in volume,” Aguirre said. “We are also looking for a decent and fair price that guarantees the sustainability of the producer and increases our productivity by 5 per cent.”

Productivity per hectare last year was 2,026 boxes per hectare, similar to that of 2022.

Bananas are the third agricultural export product after coffee and flowers, with 50,000 direct jobs, according to Augura.

The main export destinations for the fruit last year were the countries of the European Union with 66%, the United States with 17% and the United Kingdom with 14%, Aguirre said.

In 2019, Colombia detected the Fusarium Tropical Race 4 fungus in the department of La Guajira, which causes the disease popularly known as Panama disease, which attacks the roots of the Cavendish banana variety, but is under control due to the implementation of a containment model that includes strict health control, said the manager.

Colombia, the fifth largest exporter of the fruit in the world after Ecuador, Guatemala, the Philippines and Costa Rica, maintained its area planted with bananas at around 53,000 hectares in 2023.


Aguirre warned of a possible increase in moko, a bacteria or phytopathogen that attacks crops, due to the floods that are beginning to occur in the main production areas due to an increase in rainfall associated with the La Niña climate phenomenon.