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Banana Economics Forum Bananas are the number one exported fruit in the world, and the number one fruit eaten in nearly every country. This forum is for discussions of the economics of bananas involving producers, economists, consumers, transporters, wholesalers, and governments.


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Old 11-05-2008, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Marketing bananas in the US

There are about 400 acres of commercial bananas in Dade County Florida and apparently those bananas never leave the county. I've been considering planting an acre or two and honestly have been trying to wrap my head around selling that many bananas! I never see anything other than chiquita, dole, or del monte in the grocery stores but there must be someone selling off those 400 acres that I just have not come across. Does anyone have any clue about the volume of bananas that moves through a typical grocery store in a week? I saw on that Ecuador site that a box of bananas was a little less than $5, but when I check the AMS for the port of Miami a box is $14. What is the real price point, the grocer sells them for $27 a box.
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

The real price point will be deterined by a number of factors, none of them in your control except the volume you sell and the price you will accept. Other factors are:

1) Demand for 'other' bananas'
2) Retailer's familiararity with the product
3) Shelf space
4) Substitutes available
5) others that may come up

The agreement needs to be reached prior to delivery.

The volume you have may be more or less than you can provide....

Will you have problems with wholesalers?

It goes on and on.....

Good luck.
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

I talked to someone I know that owns a vegetable packinghouse and he seemed to think that Publix (a major southeastern grocer) would be somewhat interested because they preferentially buy Florida grown produce. Of course they need some volume, but they don't need volume all year long.
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Old 11-07-2008, 09:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

My experience has been that the best places to sell tropical fruit (including bananas) are large scale Asian grocery stores. We sell fruit (Carambolas, bananas, Pommelos, etc.,) by the pound. After you build a relationship they will take all we can bring (this is a very large local grocer).

They always request unusual bananas.....

Good luck!

Couple acres...very exciting!!
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Old 11-07-2008, 09:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicolas Naranja View Post
I talked to someone I know that owns a vegetable packinghouse and he seemed to think that Publix (a major southeastern grocer) would be somewhat interested because they preferentially buy Florida grown produce. Of course they need some volume, but they don't need volume all year long.
Publix (understandably) can be very picky...one has to be able to supply all of the stores within the region.
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rmplmnz View Post
My experience has been that the best places to sell tropical fruit (including bananas) are large scale Asian grocery stores. We sell fruit (Carambolas, bananas, Pommelos, etc.,) by the pound. After you build a relationship they will take all we can bring (this is a very large local grocer).

They always request unusual bananas.....

Good luck!

Couple acres...very exciting!!
Here in NJ there are of course no local growers but, if I were growing down in Fla. I would definately build a relation with local asian markets. In this area they are a source of all sorts of produce etc. that can't be found elsewhere and once the employees get to know you can be a great resource for buying and I would guess selling advice.
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

The closest asian place to me is probably a good 30 miles away, however we do have several Latin grocery stores in the region, I may look in that direction.
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Old 11-07-2008, 01:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

Don't forget farmers markets. If you're a market grower anyway, it's easy enough to bring along something else to your stand.
Do you have any wholesale produce auctions? They're a good way to get your feet wet without a lot of commitment on your part.
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Old 11-07-2008, 02:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

I am pretty sure that most of the bananas grown in Dade county are Thai (Nam Wah). I am planting a field right now and can tell you that the demand is high. The packing house was paying $26 to $27 per 30 lb box as of a few weeks ago. Of course the price fluctuates. The retailer sells them for a bit over $ 2.00 per lb. Right now your biggest hurdle would be finding clean planting material. You could go to Agri-Starts but will have to wait more time for your plants to start producing.
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Old 11-08-2008, 02:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

Which packing house are you going through.
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

Double Green Farm Inc. in Florida City.
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Old 11-10-2008, 01:43 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Joy Re: Marketing bananas in the US

Muchas gracias
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

You could make a fortune out here in California with the many ethnic grocery stores craving rare bananas.
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Old 12-14-2008, 09:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

I'm really surprised that someone isn't growing bananas out in the imperial valley
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Bananas here in the desert a quite a different thing than in the tropics. We get frosts most years, and the 115 in the summer is also a detriment. The Israelis grow lots of bananas, mostly clones of gran nain. So variety selection will take some time and effort. I think I will play with some...

But the other big factor is knowledge of bananas. I can quite assure you that there is no one in this area with much experience in bananas. Most growers here in the desert are larger operators who have a bunch (ha ha) of ground and playing with a few acres of bananas is not in the cards.

And of course the economics are tough. Even Richard Ha, who up until this past summer was the largest grower in the US, with about 600 ac on the Big Island in Hawaii has given up on bananas because of the high costs involved.

The speciality markets are the only way to go, and they are not infinite in their ability to take fruit... In Israel they crank out 20 tons plus per acre, Central America pumps out a couple thousand cases per ha on poor fields... that is a lot of fruit to put into specialty markets... Especially here in the desert when we really have a 6 month harvest season.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:35 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

I'm giving bananas a try commercially right now. I'm basically sharecropping about 5 acres on some really good land that has some temperature moderation due to it's proximity to a large body of water. This whole thrust of buying local has increased demand for everything local, and a premium is there.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:48 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

Absolutely! and that is where banana production will have to come from here in the desert... the grower who does 3000 acres of lettuce is not likely to horse around with bananas... it is a whole different mentality, equipment set, and wholly different group of cultural practices.

GOOD LUCK!!! Grow the varieties the locals want.
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:53 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

The guy I am sharecropping from has about 7k acres, so five acres is a drop in the bucket for him. But you figure there are about 7.5 million people within a two hour drive from me, someone will want some bananas. It's a lot of work though, every day after work I got something to do out there.
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

about 2 ha, or a couple thousand mats or so.
In central america they figure that each Ha will average 60 racemes per week, so I have no doubt you are busy, busy. All that bagging, color coding, weed control, fertilizing, pruning, suckering... bananas on that scale are a huge amount of work for one guy... I hope you have help!
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:58 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Marketing bananas in the US

Well, Florida is a little different I suppose in planting populations. I have read that when they plant in central america they are planting about 1700 plants per hectare. In Florida, the recommendation I received was to only plant about 1000 plants per hectare. Also, we don not bag our bananas. I would say growing bananas in Florida is a little less labor intensive than in central America since production almost ceases between January and April and the fact that the specialty varieties that we use don't have as many issues as cavendish bananas do. The biggest problem I've had lately is that I am out there between 5 and 8PM and the mosquitoes try to carry me off. They don't seem to be phased by DEET.
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