San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican Exports Going Bananas

The National Banana Corporation (Corbana) announced Monday that it expects to export around 103 million 18-kilogram boxes of bananas in 2010, a more than 18 percent improvement over 2009, when only 87 million boxes were exported.

According to Corbana, the effects of the weather system La Niña have not been as damaging to production as feared. The expected shipment of 103 million boxes is the same number of bananas as were sent abroad in 2008.

According to the Foreign Trade Promotion Office (Procomer), sales from the export of bananas in 2009 slipped to $624 million, down from $680 million in 2008 and $660 million in 2007.

Costa Rican bananas were shipped to 38 different countries in 2009, with 43 percent of them going to the United States.

There are almost 43,000 hectares of banana plantations in Costa Rica, located mostly in Limón province, on the Caribbean side of the country. The industry employs over 34,000 people.

The high point for banana exports was 1999, when 116 million boxes of bananas were shipped out. In 2007, 114 million were exported. The country remains one of the world’s leading banana exporters.

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