Updates on the Papaya Industry in Latin America

Published Jan 7, 2022
Papaya's demand has increased globally, creating a great market opportunity for producers. Latin American countries have positioned their papaya and hold over 75% of the import market in the top importing countries. Until 2029 there is a predicted production growth of 2.1% annually, which will create even more opportunities for the Latin American papaya market to grow.

Since the 2000s, global papaya production has grown over 90% reaching a production of over 14 million metric tons in over 60 countries in 2020. Two types of papayas are mainly marketed in the world, the Solo-type known as Hawaiian papaya and the large papaya known as Mexican papaya. Hawaiian papaya weighs between 1.1 and 2.2 pounds per fruit and Mexican papaya can weigh up to 10 pounds per fruit.

The increasing demand for papayas has influenced the growth of the papaya trade market. In 2020, there were 387,393 metric tons of papaya exported globally, which is equivalent to USD 310.8 B. Since 2016 global papaya exports have increased by 6.9%, reaching an exporting volume of 380,516 metric tons.

Greatest papaya exporters

Latin American countries have taken over the top three spots as the greatest papaya exporters, Mexico, Brazil, and Guatemala, holding 68.7% of the global market exports in 2020. Additionally, other Latin American countries hold a place in the top 25 exporting markets of papaya.

Source: www.trademap.org 


Mexico is the global leader of papaya exports with a 43.2% market volume. The main papaya varieties grown in Mexico are Maradol and Red. Other varieties Mexico exports are the Yellow Hawaiian and the Criolla papaya. 80% of the total papaya productions are from plantations located in the southwest of the country in Veracruz, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Michoacán, Tabasco y Yucatán. In 2020, Mexico exported 167,357 MT of papaya and 99% of these exports were sent to the United States. The remaining 1% was shipped to Canada and Germany.

Source: www.trademap.org


Brazil is the second-largest papaya exporter with an 11.3% market volume. The main papaya varieties grown in Brazil are Golden and Formosa. Most of the papaya plantations are located in the northwest of the country and Espiritu Santo state. Brazil exported 43,709 MT of papaya with 73.9% of these being sent to Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Source: www.trademap.org 


Guatemala is the third global papaya with a 14.2% market volume. The main papaya variety grown in Guatemala is the Kaya Paya. Some of the papaya plantations are located in Chimaltenango, Totonicapán, and Sacatepéquez. Guatemala exported 55,192 MT of papaya with 70.5% of these being sent to the United States. The remaining papayas were sent to El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Canada, and Russian Federations. 

Source: www.trademap.org

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is part of the top 25 papaya exporters globally, holding a market volume of 0.5%. The main papaya variety grown in the Dominican Republic is the Cartagena papaya. The Dominican Republic exported 1,801 MT of papaya with 77.6% of these being sent to the United States. Some other main exporting countries are Curacao, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany. 

Source: www.trademap.org

Costa Rica

Costa Rica also exports papaya, holding a market value of 0.4%. The main papaya variety grown in Costa Rica is the Red papaya. Costa Rica exported 1,495 MT of papaya with 77.5% of these being exported to Canada, and the remaining papayas being exported mainly to Spain, the United States, and Nicaragua.  

Source: www.trademap.org


Panama also sports papaya and holds a market volume of 0.2%. Some main papaya varieties grown are the Red and the Orange papaya. Panama exported 898 MT of papaya with 81.8% of these being exported to the United States. The remaining 18.2% of papayas were exported to Canada.  

Source: www.trademap.org

Greatest papaya importers, and the market opportunity for Latin American producers

The global import market for papaya is equal to USD 350.7 B which is equivalent to 356,881 metric tons. The increase in popularity of papaya has increased imports all around the world. The following are the top importing countries and the volumes they imported in 2020.

Source: www.trademap.org 

Over a third of the global exports go to the United States. The second biggest global importer is Germany with almost a tenth of the global market, followed by Portugal, Canada, and the Netherlands. The top importing countries mainly import from the following countries.

Source: www.trademap.org 

As seen on the previous tables, Latin American producer countries hold over 75% of the papaya import market in the top importing countries. In the United States, 99.6% of papaya imports come from Latin American countries. The Latin American papaya market holds most of the international market, and with the growing global demand for papaya, there is still a lot of potential to grow and introduce more Latin American papaya around the world.

The growing papaya market and projections till 2029

There is a predicted growth in production of 2.1% yearly until 2029 which will help cover the predicted growth in the papaya demand. One of the barriers that the current papaya export market faces is product fragility, which makes shipping to far destinations complicated. This creates an opportunity for producers to either create genetically modified varieties that have a longer shelf life or invest in new transportation technologies that will facilitate distribution. The global exports and market shares will be determined by the production growth and distribution advantages of producing countries. This creates a great opportunity for Latin American countries to grow, innovate, and introduce their papayas all around the world.


FAO. Análisis del mercado de las principales frutas tropicales 2019.

Fresh Plaza. Growing demand for Kaya Paya papaya from Guatemala.

GIFEX. Areas Suitable for Growing Papaya in Guatemala.

International Tropical Fruits Network. Papaya – Common Varieties.

OECD. OCDE-FAO Perspectivas Agrícolas 2020-2029.

Statista. Global papaya production 2000-2019.

Trade Map. Trade Statistics.

University of Florida. A look at worldwide papaya production, trade and consumption. 

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