SOUTH AFRICA – Tropical Cyclone Freddy, which remained active over Mozambique and northeastern South Africa for five weeks in February and March 2023, has caused a banana shortage in South Africa.

According to a recent report by Fresh Plaza, banana supplies in South Africa have decreased by 50% in 2023 compared to last year.

Bananas are tropical plants that are grown under sub-optimal, subtropical conditions in South Africa. Therefore, their production is severely limited by the climate.

Currently, bananas are priced at USD 0.72/kg at the Johannesburg fresh produce market, which represents a 120% increase compared to last year due to the impact of the cyclone.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy holds the record for being the longest-lasting tropical storm in the region.

Consistent with the report, banana traders in the South African municipal market receive an average of USD 0.053 per 18kg box for class 2 medium bananas.

“Volumes should pick up next week,” announced a trader. “However, all the banana producers will likely flood the market with a large quantity of bananas all at once.”

The analysis also reports on Spain’s volume of Canary bananas in 2023, which has increased by 14% in the market, reaching over 235 million kilos. This is higher than the usual average of 268 million kilograms of bananas.

This is a remarkable recovery given the country’s production was affected by the eruption of the La Palma volcano in 2021, which resulted in a 15% reduction in banana production in the Canary Islands.

The shortage caused by the volcano eruption resulted in a lack of supply, which led to an increase in prices and allowed imported bananas to capture a larger market share in Spain.

The report, however, highlights that a balance has once again been restored in 2023 between domestic and imported bananas. This is attributed to an increase in the price of imported bananas during the first months of the year and an increase in domestic banana production in Spain.

Additionally, the report reveals that India, which is the leading banana producer in the world, is heading into uncertain times due to deficient rainfall in the primary growing region of Maharashtra.

The country’s export industry is experiencing quality issues despite a 40% increase in plantation size.

The banana market is projected to increase in size from USD 139.72 billion in 2023 to USD 145.40 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.80% during the forecast period (2023-2028), as reported by Mordor.

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