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08.12.2009 International

Bananas weathering economic crisis, UN agricultural agency says

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7 December - Bananas are withstanding the impact of the global economic crisis more than most agricultural commodities, with consumers regarding the fruit as a necessity in their diets, according to a new report issued by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Banana imports will soften slightly to 13.8 million tons this year, the agency said, just over 3 per cent less than 2007 levels.

While imports have dropped off in developed countries, developing nations are recording an increased demand for the fruit, largely driven by China. FAO predicts that if the recession bottoms out by the end of this year, the demand for bananas will surge by up to almost 8 per cent.

“With steady growth in populations and income, and rising awareness about the positive nutritional value of fruit, global banana and tropical fruit consumption is likely to continue its upward trend in the next few decades,” the new publication, which will be presented to an upcoming meeting of global fruit experts later this week, noted.

Trade in bananas and tropical fruit accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the global fruit market.

Another FAO report to be launched at the 9-11 December meeting will call for more resources to map banana and plantain diseases, which the agency warns could cause over $4 billion worth of damage by 2010, hurting smallholders' income the most.

Development / Accra / Ghana / Africa /

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