Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

3. Tropical products

Tropical fruits

General characteristics

· Tropical fruits are an important source of carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and fibres. They are grown in most tropical, and subtropical areas with well drained soils.

· Developing countries account for about 98 percent of total production, while developed countries account for 80 percent of world imports. Mango is the dominant variety produced, followed by pineapple, papaya and avocado.

· Other fruits, such as lychees, durian, rambutan, guavas, and passionfruit are produced and traded in smaller volumes, yet their market shares have been expanding rapidly in recent years.

· Most of the recent increase in production comes from expanded crop areas particularly intended for exports.

Pattern of production, consumption and trade

· World production of tropical fruits increased by more than 5 percent annually over the last decade (1991-2000) reaching more than 60 million tonnes in 2000.

· The major producing region is Asia, accounting for more than 70 percent of tropical fruit production, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (15 percent) and Africa (9 percent). Oceania, the United States and Europe make up the balance.

· Demand prospects for the next decade are expected to be favourable. The projected annual average growth for the four major fruits (pineapple, mango, avocado, papaya) would range between 3 and 4.5 percent.

· World trade continues to be dominated by pineapples, though significant growth in exports has been recorded for other tropical fruits.

· The European Community remains the world’s largest import market, followed by the United States. Both account for 70 percent of import demand.

· Europe is expected to remain the main market, with France a major importer. Trade disputes relate essentially to product safety and quality.

· The bulk of consumption takes place in producing developing countries.

Economic and institutional structure

· International demand for tropical fruits depends on: (1) domestic demand of producing countries, (2) export demand for fresh fruits, and (3) industry demand for processing.

· Generally, a producing country will specialize in one of the above markets. For example, India fits into category 1 as it is the largest producer of tropical fruit yet consumes almost all its production. Less than 0.5 percent is exported. Thailand, Costa Rica and Mexico fit into category 2 as major exporters, while Thailand and Philippines fit into category 3 being major processors of tropical fruits (market leaders in canned pineapple and juice market).

· Tropical fruit prices have recently been on a downward trend as supplies expanded.

· Prices of tropical fruits are also highly affected by seasonality.

Current issues

· Tropical fruits are a primary source of nutrition and food security for many developing countries.

· Domestic trade constitutes a major contributor to employment and income generation in producing areas.

· Certain countries set import restrictions on tropical fruits containing a determined quantity of pesticide. There is a need to harmonize treatments for fruit exports which would enhance food safety and trade.

· There is an ongoing research on alternatives to methyl bromide.

Production of Major Tropical Fruits 1991-2000 ('000 tonnes)

U.K. wholesale prices (US$/Kg) for Avocados, Mangos, Papayas and Pineapples

Tropical Fruits: World Exports

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page