Strong winds in South America and Central America will likely affect banana shipments to the U.S.
Wind storms the week of July 7 in Colombia and Costa Rica affected “a very significant area” of banana-producing farms, said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing for Del Monte Fresh Produce, Coral Gables, Fla.
It was still too soon to gauge the full extent of the damage, but Christou said there would likely be an effect.
“While we’re not yet in position to calculate the precise effects on the markets as a result of these severe weather phenomena, it would be logical to expect a reduction in overall banana volumes in the foreseeable future,” he said.
Coral Gables, Fla.-based Banacol Marketing Corp. also expects to feel an impact from the storms.
“We’re still assessing the damages, but volumes will be affected from the region,” said Natalia Henao, Banacol general director. “The loss of volume will affect the markets on both bananas and plantains.”
Marion Tabard, marketing director for Coral Gables, Fla.-based Turbana Corp., also said banana volumes will be down because of the wind damage.
Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Fruit, however, does not expect any adverse effects on its North American supplies, though the company is still assessing damage, said Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications.
Chiquita Brands International, Charlotte, N.C., does not own banana farms in Colombia or source bananas from the country, said Ed Loyd, the company’s director of communications.
About 11,121 acres of banana plantations in northern Colombia alone were destroyed by the winds, according to media reports.
At least another 24,711 acres suffered less severe damage.
In 2013, the U.S. imported 535,515 metric tons of bananas and plantains worth $256 million from Colombia, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
Costa Rica exported about 797,222 metric tons worth $381 million last year.