Costa Rica’s banana industry expects its output to remain on a par with last year thanks to favourable weather conditions so far during 2013.

The country’s national banana corporation Corbana predicts that exports will reach around 106m boxes, weather permitting.

So far the banana market in the US is looking stable, while the European Union is presenting certain problems due to a “little bit more offer”, Corbana’s general manager Jorge Sauma told Americafruit.

“Having said that, both markets are showing prices below the levels of 2012, which was expected since a year ago the banana offer experienced certain problems due to the weather in some producing countries.

“That meant that during the first three months of 2012 we haven’t had the magnitude of volume that we did a year ago.”

Sauma said Costa Rica will send a little more bananas to the EU this year as it boosts its presence under the association agreement between Central America and the EU.

In the Middle East, meanwhile, Sauma noted that shipments have decreased, with Iran reducing its import volume although Saudia Arabia and other countries are still buying bananas from Costa Rica.

“We’ve always known that due to the geopolitical conditions in the region the market would be sensitive,” he explained. But it’s a market with important potential.”