The temperature and soil of Mozambique continue to draw banana growers, many of whom are from South Africa.
Some significant banana farmers in Limpopo have entirely abandoned the sector, removing enormous swaths of bananas and replacing them with citrus, avocados, or macadamia nuts
Traders note that the majority of bananas on the South African wholesale markets come from Mozambique and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), with new manufacturers from South Africa’s neighbour on the market floor.
Over half of the bananas on the Johannesburg municipal market are from Mozambique and the amount of South African bananas on the market reduce every year as banana plantations make way for avocado and macadamia. One trader reckons the ratio between Mozambican and South African bananas is approximately 60:40 at the moment.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Mozambique’s banana production overtook South Africa’s in 2012 and by 2019 Mozambique was producing almost 725,000 tonnes compared to 405,000 tonnes in South Africa.
There have been sufficient banana volumes, very stable volume-wise over past the two months, traders say, but the region is coming out of a cold winter which has led to higher volumes of medium-sized bananas.
As temperatures rise, production will pick up and there’ll be more large and extra-large bananas.
“We’re a little bit late, usually we’d have more volumes than currently, but as a rule when temperatures increase, so do bananas.”
Demand slightly picked up as schools re-open but the economy is a ceiling on banana price.
“We can see money is short,” notes a banana trader, “we can’t lift banana prices as much as usual.”
Banana prices are slightly higher than usual this time of the year by around 10 to 20%: R100 (5.76 euros) to R120 (6.9 euros) on medium, R150 – R160 on large and R180 (10.37 euros) to R200 (11.52 euros) on extra-large bananas, but on selected bananas, it can go as high as R220 (12.68 euros) per 18kg carton.