Bananas are produced in 135 countries and overseas territories across the tropics and subtropics, according to the statistics compiled by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)1 . Most bananas are consumed in the country where they are produced (exports represent less than 16 per cent of global production).
The FAO Statistics Division publishes the data received from countries or applies an imputation methodology2 when countries do not send data. In 2018, this was the case for about two-thirds of the banana-producing countries in the FAO's online database.
The FAO also splits production into two categories, bananas and plantains. The words bananas and plantains are used loosely to mean dessert bananas and cooking bananas3 .
Every two years, FruiTrop publishes statistics curated by Cirad scientist, Thierry Lescot, who uses as a starting point the FAO data which he re-examine in the light of other evidence, such as reports, national statistics and expert knowledge. He breaks down production into four categories: Cavendish cultivars, other dessert bananas, Plantain cultivars, and other cooking bananas.
Production is measured in tonnes (metric tons). One tonne is equal to 1,000 kilograms or 2,205 pounds.
The FAO Statistics Division estimated that in 2018 a total of 155.2 million tonnes were produced: 115.7 million tonnes of bananas (75%) and 39.5 million tonnes of plantains (25%)1 .
The estimated production for the same year published in FruiTrop is 139.5 million tonnes: 79.6 million tonnes of Cavendish (57%), 17.5 million tonnes of other dessert bananas (13%), 20.9 million tonnes of Plantain (15%), and 21.4 million tonnes of other cooking bananas (15%)4 .
The FAOSTAT data represent the total of the bananas and plantains crop items, while the FruiTrop data represent the total of four caategories: Cavendish, other dessert bananas, Plantain, and other cooking bananas. Production is measured in tonnes. The estimated quantity of bananas produced in overseas territories is accessible from the country with which it is associated (France, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and United States of America).
The maps below show the production of cooking bananas only. Although production is similar (39.5 million tonnes according to FAOSTAT and 42.3 million tonnes according to FruiTrop), there is a marked difference in the number of producing countries. The FruiTrop data cover many more countries, including large producers of cooking bananas, such as India, Indonesia, Rwanda, Burundi, Brazil, Vietnam and China, that according to FAOSTAT only produce dessert bananas.
Below is the list of banana-producing countries and overseas territories and the number of tonnes they each produced in 2018. Production is measured in tonnes. The production values represent the total of the bananas and plantains categories into which the FAO breaks down the banana. Download Excel file of the data: 2018 FAO Production Stats
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The hidden side of banana diversity: How three cultivar-rich but genetically homogeneous types of bananas came to dominate global production. Published 24 October 2017 in InfoMus@.