Colombia banana output rose 2.5 pct in 2018, highest in decade

BOGOTA, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Colombia, the world’s fourth-largest exporter of bananas, produced 100.4 million 20-kg boxes of the fruit in 2018, the Andean country’s highest output in at least a decade, the banana growers’ association said on Tuesday.

Production rose 2.52 percent from 2017 output because of tree replanting and an increased crop area, the association said in a statement.

The increase moved Colombia up in the global ranking of banana exporters to fourth from fifth, behind Ecuador, Costa Rica and Guatemala, the association said.

Banana exports were worth $859 million last year, said the group, up 1 percent from 2017.

Eighty-two percent of Colombia’s banana exports go to the European Union, while 13 percent go to the United States. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Peter Cooneyey)