MOZAMBIQUE – Bananalândia Group, a major producer and exporter of bananas in Mozambique has inaugurated its new US$20 million production and processing unit in Maputo province, South of the country.

The new unit according to Club of Mozambique, uses modern equipment to plant banana palms and occupies an area of 900 hectares.

It currently employs 1,000 workers, with an annual production capacity of 3.5 million boxes for export, reinforcing Mozambique’s lead position in the regional banana market.

Over the last decade, much has been done to make the country a continental benchmark in banana production, having produced around 724,966 tonnes in 2019, indicates World Data Atlas.

Maputo in particular has since the beginning of 2000 registered substantial investment in fruit production, with an emphasis on the banana.

Current banana production in the province stands at around 249,829 tonnes, from an area of about 5,140 hectares. Of these, 4,719 hectares are managed by private commercial enterprises, the remainder by small, mainly family producers.

The province has 22 private companies growing bananas, in Namaacha, Moamba, Boane, Manhiça and Marracuene districts, 80% of which are exported to South Africa, Botswana and the Kingdom of eSwathini.

Banana production contributes 3.9 per cent to Maputo province’s total agricultural production value.

Mozambique produced 724,966 tonnes of bananas in 2019

world data atlas

This sector is one of the largest generators of direct employment in the agricultural sector, with an average of 1.3 workers per hectare, which means about 6,100 direct and 11,000 indirect jobs, totalling about 17,100 workers, indicates the report.

Despite the bullish performance of the sector, Panama disease (Foc TR4) and the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) have to some extent slowdown production, leading the government to introduce more resistant variants.

Cameroon to increase banana production

Meanwhile in Cameroon, state-owned firm Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) is seeking to renovate 520 hectares of banana plantations this year to improve production.

According to figures published by the Banana Association Cameroon (ASSOBACAM), over the 9 months from June 2020 to February 2021, CDC exported only 9,521 tons of banana.

The plantation resumed operations in May 2020, after a two-years hiatus, following the Anglophone crisis which forced it to suspend operations in 2018.

However, despite re-embarking on its activities, CDC is yet to regain its export momentum, as in 2016 it exported about 113,610 tons with an average monthly export volume of 9,467.5 tons.

Overall, Cameroon exported 17,258 tons of bananas in February 2021, a 13.28% year-on-year rise from the 14,965 tons exported in February 2020.