Ethiopia has started exporting organic bananas to Saudi Arabia after a 50 year suspension.
The Horn of Africa country shipped 200 tonnes in one week and expects to rake in $100 million annually.
A recent agreement to export 200 tonnes of bananas a week paved the way for the lifting of the ban that was imposed for undisclosed reasons.
Ethiopia shipped the first banana consignment from Gamo Gofa, the banana producing area in the south.
According to the Ethiopian Horticulture Development Agency (EHDA), 3100 hectares of land will be devoted to the cultivation of bananas.
The country has more than 11 400 banana farmers.
“The agency is striving to enhance the quality of bananas cultivated in the country to attract customers on the international market,” EHDA said in a statement.
“With this view in mind the EHDA has imported two different high-yield varieties of South African bananas to distribute among small farmers and private investors in the sector to ensure a supply of organic bananas on the international market,”
The agency said there was a significant demand for organic bananas in European and Middle Eastern countries.
Ethiopia’s close proximity to that market helps lower the transportation costs.
Understand Africa's tomorrow... today
We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.