Chiquita Eta Iota storm damage

The storms damaged 2,800ha of farms

Honduran banana exports continue to feel the impact of hurricanes Eta and Iota, which struck Central America country at the end of 2020.

Figures from the Central Bank of Honduras show that the value of exports dropped US$200.5m to September, compared to the year-earlier period.

The country exported 11.9m (40lb) boxes worth US$217.1m in the first nine months of this year, a significant decrease on the 21.7m boxes (US$417.5m) shipped in the same period of 2020. The main destination for Honduran bananas is the US, which takes around 98.8 per cent of the total export volume.

According to La Tribuna, the situation has become so critical that the country has been forced to import bananas in order to meet local demand due to the damage caused by storms Eta and Iota in November 2020.

Bananas are typically Honduras’s second biggest export earner after coffee, generating as much as US$700m for the country.

This year, however, they have been overtaken by palm oil, exports of which have risen 44.7 per cent to US$345.3m in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the year-earlier period.

The banana sector employs more than 16,000 people directly in Honduras, but this year more than 4,000 workers are believed to have been laid off temporarily following the storms.

Eta and Iota damaged more than 2,800ha of farms, equivalent to 82 per cent of the country’s banana acreage.

Producers are working towards a recovery in export volumes for 2022.