Panama is a tropical country with an astounding degree of biodiversity. Panama contains 12 of the world's 30 Holdridge Life Zones. Tropical rain forests cover much of the country. Among the estimated 10,000 species of plants found in Panama, 1,500 are found nowhere else. This biodiversity translates into an abundance of fruits and vegetables grown in Panama, many of which are exported to the U.S. and Europe.
Fruits grown for export in Panama include bananas, sugar cane, coffee, melons and watermelons. All of these are exported to Europe and the United States. The bulk of Panama's land area lies at low elevations, where the climate is ideally suited to the cultivation of these fruits.
Fruits for Domestic Consumption
Fruits grown in Panama for domestic consumption include mangoes, papaya, pineapple, passion fruit, guanaba, and guayaba (guava). Bananas, plantains and melons are also grown for domestic consumption.
Lands suited to vegetable production are found at higher elevations, particularly in the vicinity of Volcán Barú. Fertile volcanic soil and a more temperate climate at these higher elevations produce favorable year-round growing conditions for vegetable farming. Among the vegetables grown are beans, cocoa beans, squash, corn, yucca and ñamé. The latter two are exotic root vegetables not unlike potatoes.