Where arE BananaS Coming froM & Going tO?

Bananas are grown in tropical areas. But… are there places where this fruit grows year-round?

You may have read one of our first publications in the BananitaBlog. If this is so, then you already know the optimum climatic conditions to grow bananas (otherwise, click on the next link: Globetrotter bananita ).

Such particular conditions are hard to find, or aren´t they?.

Think of the place of origin of bananas: in how many continents do you think they are grown?





According to the Nationsonline, “by most standards, there are a maximum of seven continents – Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe, North America, and South America”. Bananas are cultivated in all but one of those continents. Of course, as you will have guessed, the uninhabited Antarctica is the exception. 

You would have probably thought that banana plantations do not spread over North America or Europe. However, they do. Even though the continental climate from the northern hemisphere doesn´t seem ideal to growing bananas, Europe and North America do grow bananas.

Europe, for instance, enjoys areas with gentle climate (which are also some of the most famous destinations for beach holidays). Then, what European countries are producers of bananas? There are more than two or three. According to FAO  (Food and Agricultural organization of the United Nations) statistics, they are:

1st France (in Martinique and Guadeloupe)

2nd Spain (Canary Islands)

3rd Portugal (in Madeira)

4th Greece

5th Italy

The same occurs in North America. Here, bananas are delighted by the sheer beauty of the landscapes from Hawaii and Mexico.

But, globally, bananas are widely produced in Asia, Latin America and Africa, India being the world largest producer of bananas, followed far behind by China, Philippines, Ecuador and Brazil.

World regions where bananas are grown:

Regions where bananas are grown

World top banana producers:

India > China > Philippines > Ecuador > Brazil

World top bananas growers(Source: FAO Statistics )

However, the above global average hides important differences at the exporting level. In India, local consumption prevails. For this reason, in 2018, the leading exporter of bananas does not come from Asia, but from Latin America:

World bananas exports

(Source: FAO. 2019. Banana Market Review 2018. Rome).

Million tonnes in 2018: 

Ecuador: 6553.9 

Philippines: 3387.8

Guatemala: 2351.4

Costa Rica: 1750.2

Colombia: 1748.5

(Source: FAO. 2019. Banana Market Review 2018. Rome)

The 5 countries listed above shipped the large majority of global bananas in 2018. And where did these bananas travel to?

Distribution of global imports by market, 2018

EU 28 –> 32%
USA –> 26%
China –> 9%
Russia –> 8%
Japan –> 5%
Latin America & Caribbean –> 4%

(Source: FAO. 2019. Banana Market Review 2018. Rome).

As shown by the above graph, Europe is the major importer, accounting for 32% of world banana imports.

So, during your next visit to the supermarket, find out where your bananas come from 😉

In the village of Reykir in South Iceland, the Icelandic Agricultural University harvests bananas in a tropical greenhouse. These bananas are not sold and are consumed by the students and staff of the university. Read more about