Panama - Country Commercial Guide
Agricultural Products

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-10-13

Overview

In 2020, Panama ranked 35rd among the leading 35 country markets in exports of U.S. agricultural products with a value of $693.1 million.  U.S. products are high in quality and are well accepted overall. The customs clearance process in Panama is relatively fast and trouble-free for U.S. exporters that comply with local requirements. Most consumer-oriented food imports in Panama are purchased through a local importers, distributors, or wholesalers.  The primary products are dairy products ($61.7 million); prepared food ($54.8 million); pork and pork products ($42.9 million); poultry meat and poultry products ($30.5 million); wines and beer ($34.4 million). Overall, U.S. agricultural product exports to Panama were down 8% in 2020.  Panamanian exports to the United States decreased by less than 1%.

(in US$ million)

2018

2019

2020

2021est

Total Local Production

527.5

224.8

241.4

255.9

Total Exports

268.7

315.5

329.9

300

Total Imports

1,817

1,787

1,710

1,800

Imports from the U.S.

724.7

756.9

693.1

900

Exports to the U.S.

51

60.1

59.8

86.1

Total Market Size

950.5

799.8

829.3

879.1

Exchange Rate

0

0

0

0

 

Data Sources: Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Bureau of the Census Trade Data. General Comptroller of Panama, National Institute of Statistics and Census

Leading Sub-Sectors

Panamanian consumers are demanding more convenience and healthy food products.  This trend has resulted in good prospects for U.S. exports of fresh fruit (mainly apples, grapes, peaches, and pears); organic foods; healthy food products such as gluten-free,  keto, low carb, low sodium, low sugar, low fat; processed fruits and vegetables (especially canned fruits); and snack foods (including corn chips, popcorn, cookies, and candies).  Processed canned fruits and vegetables, especially mixed fruits, mixed vegetables, yellow sweet corn, peas, mushrooms, and garbanzo beans generate strong import demand as most of the food products found in the supermarkets are not processed locally.

Opportunities

Specialty food products, such as confections, cheese, coffee, wines, beers, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic, fat-free, low sodium, lactose-free, gluten-free, and more represent the best prospects for U.S. exports to Panama due to the growing consumer demand.

Resources

Bulk Agricultural Products                                                                                                

U.S. exports of bulk agricultural products to Panama totaled $150.1 million in 20120  With 140 food-processing companies, the value of Panama’s food processing ingredients market is  $110 million per year, with U.S. products holding 60 % of the market share. The sector includes dairy processors, meat and poultry product processors, fishery product processors, fruits processors, beverages and spirits makers, bakery processors, and snack producers.  According to official figures and the Union of Industrialists of Panama (SIP), this sector had an estimated annual growth for 2019 at 2.0%. The production of beverages, including soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, is on track to grow by 3% in the coming year.  Furthermore, the production of processed milk and sugar has been improving over the last few years.

 

(in US$ millions)

2018

2019

2020

2021est

Total Local Production

170.0

196.6

185.0

196.1

Total Exports

45.2

52.1

56.0

59.3

Total Imports

299.7

308.8

286.6

303.8

Imports from the U.S.

151.1

160.8

150.1

200

Exports to the U.S.

28.3

32.4

30.3

25

Total Market Size

424.5

453.3

415.6

440.5

Exchange Rate

0

0

0

0

Data Sources: Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Bureau of the Census Trade Data. General Comptroller of Panama, National Institute of Statistics and Census

Leading Sub-Sectors

U.S. exports of bulk agricultural products to Panama increased by 6.4% last year.  Principal products in this category include yellow corn ($89.5 million), wheat ($36.1 million), and “paddy” rice ($17.5 million).

Opportunities

Yellow corn, wheat, paddy rice, soybeans, and pulses represent the best prospects of U.S. exports to Panama due to growing consumer demand and demand for animal feed for local production.

Resources

Intermediate Agricultural Products                                                                    

U.S. exports of intermediate agricultural products to Panama totaled $118.4 million in 2019.  High demand for soybean meal ($69.8 million) drives this sector, mainly used for poultry production, shrimp aquaculture, and pork production. All soybean meal imports are from the United States.

Market Estimates

(in US$ millions)

2018

2019

2020

2021est

Total Local Production

14.7

17.5

17.2

18.2

Total Exports

10.3

15.2

16.5

17.5

Total Imports

209.8

230.2

204.9

217.2

Imports from the U.S.

133.9

118.5

115.4

150

Exports to the U.S.

12.6

13.8

10.2

8.5

Total Market Size

214.2

232.5

205.6

217.9

Exchange Rates

0

0

0

0

Data Sources: Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Bureau of the Census Trade Data. General Comptroller of Panama, National Institute of Statistics and Census.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Soybean meal and vegetable oil are the top products.

Opportunities

Soybean meal, vegetable oil, soybean oil, and distiller dried grains with solubles (DDGS) represent the best prospects of U.S. exports to Panama, mainly for animal feed.

Resources