Costa Rica Banana Guide

Fresh Banana
Costa Rica

Customs & Tariffs

What Are the Main Customs & Tariffs Applied in the Most Common Markets for Costa Rican Banana?

Production Supply Chain

Which Companies Mainly Produce Bananas in Costa Rica?

Three multinational corporations represent 87% of total banana production. Dole accounts for 36% of Costa Rica’s bananas, followed by Del Monte representing 33% and Chiquita with 18%. 

How Is the Banana Value Chain Formed in Costa Rica?

There are vertically integrated giants in the market. 

Trade Overview

Which Countries Are Major Destinations for Costa Rica Bananas?

As of 2021, the main destinations for Costa Rican banana were the EU (43% of exported value), the US (35% of exported value), the UK (10% of exported value), Turkey (3% of exported value) and others amounting to 9% of the total exported value. 

Seasonality of Main Producing Regions

What Are the Main Production Regions of Banana in Costa Rica?

Banana plantations in Costa Rica are concentrated in the Province of Limon, in the Atlantic side, Region Huetar Caribe, accounting for 29 production districts.

What Is the Season for Bananas in Costa Rica?

Banana production and availability are year-round, although the growing area, the Caribbean side of the country is exposed to bad weather conditions, such as heavy rains, floodings, extreme temperatures, tropical storms (see chart below of main risk factors ) affecting the crops and reducing exports volumes. This is a constant scenario for the banana sector and can change from one year to another.

Main Varieties

What Is the General Description of the Banana Produced in Costa Rica?

Banana, subgroup Musa AAA Cavendish, clonal varieties Gran Enano, Williams, and Valery, are all produced in Costa Rica.

The fruit has an intense green color at harvest time. Afterward, it goes through various colors, including yellow-green, until it becomes bright yellow.

Physical and chemical characteristics: High carbohydrate and nutrient content (especially iron and potassium), as well as vitamins and phenolic compounds.

Approximate chemical profile when green: pH 4.67, total sugar 29.6%, °Brix 10.3%, total carbohydrates 92.1%, ash 2.93%, dietary fiber 8.1%, total fat 0.12%, protein 4.8%, moisture 3.4%.

Approximate chemical profile when ripe: pH 4.9, total sugar 76.4%, °Brix 20.3%, total carbohydrates 91.8%, ash 3.13%, dietary fiber 6.5%, total fat 0.12%, protein 4.9%, moisture 76.0%.

Conventional and organic bananas are produced for export to international markets.

Required Documents

What Is the Costa Rica Geographical Origin Denomination That Is Used for Bananas?

Costa Rica is the only banana-exporting country with a geographic origin denomination, called “Banano of Costa Rica”. This Geographical Indication (GI) allows producers to inform consumers about the origins of their product, its distinctive quality, and reputation as well as the strict social and environmental production standards they employ. With a GI, Costa Rican bananas are differentiated from other producer countries.

The regulatory body responsible for promoting and ensuring the quality of the GI Banana de Costa Rica is CORBANA. Its role is to establish standards for sustainable banana production and to monitor the environmental performance of banana plantations in Costa Rica.

Banano de Costa Rica farmers are audited regularly to ensure compliance with established environmental management practices, in particular with respect to waste management and pesticide use. All producers of Banano de Costa Rica are tied to a common set of production rules given by GI’s product specifications. GI is an important vehicle to encourage sustainable practices through the adoption of voluntary environmental standards that are often higher than national laws governing food production and trade.

Quality Control/Certification

What Are the Recommended Quality Check Methods for Costa Rican Banana?

According to technical papers from the Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture and Cattle, these are some of the recommended practices for plantation management and quality:

1. Weed Management: Of utmost importance. Most weeds that can affect banana are grasses and climbing plants. Weed removal is recommended by using organic products, manual cleaning, or the use of coverings. 

2. Disease Control: To avoid the Fusarium pathogen, it's recommended to have a registry of all people who enter the plantation. Have adequate shoes. Restrict non-necessary access and restrict access to people who were recently in plantations with pathogen presence. Establish points of disinfection for shoes and tools.

3. Plague Control. For C. Sordidus control, insecticide or biologic controllers such as Beauveria bassiana are used. 

General Product Introduction

Who are the main competitors of Costa Rica bananas?

According to the Trade Map statistics and applying the HS code 080390 related to fresh or dried bananas (excluding plantains), Ecuador, and the Philippines are above Costa Rica as global leaders in banana exports with exports share of 24% and 15% respectively, while Costa Rica ranks in the third position with an export share of 8%, followed by Colombia with 7% and Guatemala 6% export share. United States, Belgium, and the Netherlands are not producers. They are traders - their imports are destined for domestics consumption and exports to other markets. Colombia represents the most critical competitor for Costa Rica. 

The United States is the leading banana buyer with an import share of 17%, followed by Russia and China with an import share of 7% each.

What are production trends in Costa Rica?


-During the first half of the year, volume is higher, but overall productivity is lower. During the second half, it shows lower volume but higher productivity.

     FOB prices first half: Carton(18.5kg): USD 8.5 – 8.9 🡺 USD 0.46-0.48/kg

     FOB prices second half: Carton(18.5kg): USD 6.5 – 7.5 🡺 USD 0.35-0.40/kg

-Exporters tend to have an aggressive contract with growers after forecasting the volume for the next season's first semester. In order to secure enough volume, international buyers should   start engaging with exporters(growers) latest September

-Multinational companies procure 60% of volume from their own farms(vertically integrated), and collect the rest 40% from independent growers

Production Outlook

Despite high demand, overall production has been increasing due to pandemic, causing labor shortage and supply chain disruption – production volume for the 2021/22 season is expected to remain stable showing a slightly decreasing trend.

By clicking “Accept Cookies,” I agree to provide cookies for statistical and personalized preference purposes. To learn more about our cookies, please read our Privacy Policy.