Why a permanent forum on bananas?

Bananas are the world’s most exported fresh fruit both in volume and value. They are exported primarily from developing countries to industrialized countries, the latter accounting for close to 90 percent of world net imports. With global exports estimated at some US$ 10 billion in 2016.

In 2009 the FAO’s Trade and Markets Division organized the first World Banana Forum in Rome back to back with the meeting of the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas and Tropical Fruits (IGG). Over 150 people attended the meeting, including representatives from banana farmer organizations, trade associations, private companies (including major banana marketing companies and retailers), trade unions and other civil society organizations, research institutes, technical cooperation agencies and governments. Participants came from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Through discussions and small group work, the Forum enabled participants to:

  • Identify the main issues facing the banana sector and prioritize them;
  • Determine the types of activities needed to address these issues and form specialized working groups;
  • Reach an agreement on the establishment of a permanent forum (named World Banana Forum) which will facilitate the sharing of information, ideas and best practices among stakeholders;
  • Define the mission, scope, objectives and work areas of the Forum;
  • Establish a steering committee to coordinate the activities of the Forum and its working groups.

Additionally, participants adopted a communication to the Intergovernmental Group on Bananas and Tropical Fruits (IGG), the participation in which is restricted to government representatives. The statement was presented at the session of the IGG that began one day after the forum. The IGG welcomed the establishment of the Forum and recommended that the next forum would be held in conjunction with its next session in 2011.