The top banana-exporting countries are Ecuador, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatamala and Honduras, according to the Rainforest Alliance. While a number of other countries, including India, Uganda, China and Brazil, grow a significant quantity of bananas, those countries tend to consume most of their own crop. Bananas grow best in a tropical environment.
According to Chiquita Banana, its banana farms are concentrated in Central America, including in Ecuador, the world's largest exporter of bananas. The fruit is native to humid, hot environments with fertile soil. There are more than 400 varieties of bananas.
The Early History of the Banana website indicates that for hundreds of years bananas were a local crop for nearly every country that grew them, from Africa to Asia, relying on them as a staple food. By the 1800s bananas became a sought-after commodity in parts of Europe, which spurred the import and export of the fruit, shifting it from a local commodity to a global commodity.
The United States saw its first bananas in 1876 when they were offered for sale at 10 cents each during the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of America, according to Chiquita Banana. In 2014, bananas are shipped fresh by air and sea to destinations throughout the world.