Imports and exports tell us about the world. Relations between countries, the form of relations that markets have shaped over time, consumption.
The surprise comes when we realize that Belgium is the second most consumed fruit in the world to export the ubiquitous yellow fruit – according to FAO -.
Yes: the cold and rainy seat of the European Parliament is the second largest exporter of bananas in the world.
The mystery would soon be solved if we looked at the list of nations that import bananas. We would see that Belgium is the second largest importer of bananas in the world.
This means that bananas exported from Belgium are second-hand bananas.
Reading the data on banana production instead, we would discover other surprising news. For example, India is the world’s largest producer of bananas, but this country never appears on the exporter’s list, because all the fruits produced (one fifth of the world’s total production) are destined for local markets.
And so we would discover that 60% of bananas are produced in Asia, while “only” 30% come from the Americas: even if we are used to imagine the banana as a product of the “Banana Republics”.