More than half of Honduras' banana production destroyed by Tropical Storm "Eta"

More than half of Honduras' banana production destroyed by Tropical Storm

Honduras' banana sector has been hit particularly hard by Tropical Storm "Eta" after it lashed Central America last week. More than half of the country's existing 15 000 ha (37 000 acres) has been lost to severe floods-- the biggest damage in history for bananas, according to producers.

Eta hit Honduras around November 5, forcing hundreds of residents to flee their homes. At least 457 houses have been damaged, 41 communities were cut off, at least nine bridges were destroyed, and up to 63 fatalities have been reported as of November 10.

The banana sector has been significantly affected as about 8 000 ha (20 000 acres) of crops have been ravaged, which was more than half of the existing 15 000 ha (37 000 acres) in the country.

"I think this is the biggest damage in history for bananas," said producer Hector Castro, adding that at least 16 000 direct jobs may be in danger and the export volume will decrease.

As of August 2020, agricultural product exports had increased by 10.7 percent over the same period in 2019, totaling 631 million dollars. The volume of fruit shipments pummeled by 4.6 percent, but the average international price hiked by 26.3 percent, according to the Central Bank.

"Honduras will be left in a very weak situation due to the blow this will have on the government's finances on the private sector," Mateo Yibrin stated, a businessman from San Pedro.

"We all have to be aware that getting out of this won't be easy. 2021 is going to be an economically very complicated and complex year."

"We must be honest and speak the truth: people will suffer from lack of employment, lack of investment, hunger, and companies too, so the outlook is not encouraging."

Eta has hit a country that was already suffering from the negative impacts brought by the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector, and Yibrin noted that full recovery may take years.

Featured image credit: Lynn Richardson

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