The demand for the “baby banana” is growing in the international market, opening up the opportunity for domestic exporters to increase the marketing of such fruit for better profits.
To date, the country has about 200 farms cultivating this fruit, also called “Lady Finger” (ladyfingers), which is well liked for its diminutive size, for use in both tropical table decorations as well as for a delicatessen product for consumption.
Promoting the best practices and increasing agricultural technology is the objective of the National Banana Corporation (Corbana) in order to enhance sales volume of this fruit that has already been exported for some years.
Production is concentrated in areas of Matina, Guápiles, Siquirres and Batan, for a total of approximately 155 farms cultivating this variety.
“We are working more closely with about 40 small producers making a comprehensive plan to improve productivity and give them support. We are excited about the project but we have to look good because there are times when the demand is great and others when it is low,” said Jorge Sauma, manager of the National Banana Corporation (Corbana).
Last year, Costa Rica exported about 230 thousand boxes of 40 pounds (18.4 kilos), ie, more than 2.9 million kilograms of baby bananas mainly to Europe, with France as the leading destination, followed by Belgium and Germany .
The main competitors of Costa Rica are Ecuador, whose volume is more concentrated in the United States, and Colombia which sends most of its production to the European Union.
This banana is in chains such as Walmart, Kroger, Hannaford, Coles, Harris and Sobeys, among others. The approximate cost at supermarkets in the US ranges between $6 and $7.50 per kilo.
In Woolworths, for example, the price of traditional banana is $2.48 per kilogram, while the organic banana costs between $5.98 and $7.50,
Another advantage of this product is its resistance to black sigatoka, the main banana disease in America, Africa and Asia, which deteriorates the leaves, delaying flowering and affecting productivity.
In addition, the use of agrochemicals is up to 30% less than the traditional variety, which means more savings for producers.