Trade and markets

Banana facts and figures

Names, varieties, relatives

Bananas came first from the jungles of Southeast Asia. They grow in the tropical "Banana Belt" between 30o N and S latitude. There are two main types: the table banana and the plantain (cooking banana), and almost 1,000 varieties.

Nutritional value

Bananas are very good for us. They provide a quick boost of energy and are a good source of vitamins C and B6.

Dishes, combos, snacks, preparation

Eat bananas fresh for breakfast or a snack. Eat dried banana slices as a snack. To make banana juice, press a ripe banana through a wire strainer, then add some milk and a little clear honey. Mashed banana can also be part of a weaning diet for infants.

Easy to grow

Very easy to grow in the right place. Bananas like moderate rainfall and moderate warmth. They grow best in rich, well-drained soil.

Time frame

Bananas are grown and harvested all year round and are ready to be harvested 8 to 10 months after planting. They are more likely to fruit in warm weather.

Propagation/planting instructions

Bananas grow up to 15 m high. Planting distances vary between 2 × 2 m and 5 × 5 m, depending on variety.

They are grown by planting suckers taken from the base of mother plants. Suckers are dried for about two days before planting.


Their stems are not wood but rolled leaves and can blow down easily. Use props or windbreaks to protect against high winds.

The banana weevil, a black beetle, is one of the serious constraints to banana production. The larvae bore through the corm and the lower stem. Field sanitation is very important and the plants should be kept clean. Use borer-free planting materials and plant suckers very soon after you cut and treat them so that weevils cannot re-infest the suckers.


Each stalk produces one huge flower cluster/bunch and then dies. each bunch is made up of many "hands" which in turn have a number of fruits. the whole bunch can have hundreds of fruits and weigh more than 50 kg. It can produce fruits from 3 to 20 years on average. The main plant is cut away after harvesting, and the daughter becomes the main plant.


Bananas can be harvested when three-quarters of the fruit are full size. To ripen them, hang the bunch in an airy place.


Bananas are usually eaten fresh, but they can be kept for a long time in dried form.

Other uses

The big leaves are used as green umbrellas, plates, tablecloths, temporary mats, etc.


Some think that bananas were the first fruit on the earth. They are one of the most important tropical fruits, an important cash crop grown on large plantations for export, and an essential staple food for many developing countries.

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