SOMALIA – Somalia has resumed banana exports after decades of interrupted production of the crop.

The first shipment of the fruits produced by Somali farmers was seen off at the Mogadishu port by Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, Said Hussein Eid on Wednesday, 25th November 2019 heading to Saudi Arabia.

The shipment consisted of two containers which will be followed by large scale export to other regional countries in forthcoming weeks. Confirmed is export to Turkey.

Mr. Said urged Somali farmers to increase production as the government is working towards a new market for their produce. He further stated that the quality of the exported bananas had been tested and proven to be fit for the international market.

The revival of the industry saw a collaborative undertaking between Ministry of Agriculture of Somalia, the Business community and USAID through the Geel project.

Geel (Growth, Enterprise, Employment & Livelihoods) is a USAID funded project that promotes inclusive economic growth in Somalia.

Through GEEL, USAID accelerates Somalia’s integration into the global economy by improving the country’s competitiveness in export markets, reducing reliance on imports, increasing market linkages and business partnerships, and spurring new investments to create jobs.

In regions recovering from years of conflict and natural disasters, USAID aims to boost production of high-quality fish, agriculture, and dairy products for domestic and international consumers.

Before the civil war, Somalia was one of the leading exporters of bananas in Africa.

In 2017 Somalia produced 22000 tonnes of bananas which was mostly consumed locally.

Ecuador is currently the largest exporter of bananas in the world and its share of world banana trade is on the increase. Exports expanded from one million tonnes in 1985 to 3.6 million tonnes in 2000.

This is equivalent to an average annual rate of about 9 percent, the highest of the top five exporting countries including Colombia, Philippines, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.