Costa Rican banana exports so far this year have reached $580 million, marking a 15% increase over last year, National Banana Corporation (CORBANA) manager Jorge Sauma announced last month.
Increased tariffs imposed by the European Union Jan. 1 on banana imports from Latin America have not affected Costa Rican growers who, on the contrary, have seen an increase in sales, Sauma said.
The controversial tariff hike was debated by the European Union and Latin American banana-producing countries throughout 2005. Latin American countries argued the tariff hike would devastate their economies since the European Union is the country’s second-largest market for bananas, after the United States. (TT, Feb. 4, 2005).
So far this year, the number of bananas grown per hectare in Costa Rica has increased from 2,155 to 2,400 18-kilogram boxes.
Banana has shown the most positive growth this year among Costa Rica’s agricultural products. It is the strongest agricultural export and the second strongest overall export, surpassed only by circuits and microchips for computers.
Sauma attributed bananas’ success this year to relatively favorable weather and no natural disasters, which have caused the crop to suffer in previous years. Floods hit banana exports hard during the first trimester of 2005, he said.