[nafex] Bananas

Don Yellman dyellman at earthlink.net
Thu May 10 18:09:19 EDT 2001


Ummm....... Doreen, you know how much I hate to disagree with you, but
when I served as Econ officer at the U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil,
Ecuador from 1970-73, I was also the banana officer, and got deeper into
bananas than I would like to tell you about.  At that time, bananas were
Ecuador's number one export crop.  The region around Guayquil,
especially to the South in El Oro province, is the largest banana
growing and exporting area in the world.

Williams Hybrid was  the dominant commercial variety until the mid to
late 50's, when an outbreak of a fungal disease known as "bunchy top"
wiped out Central America and spread rapidly into Northern S. America.
Cavendish was developed specifically to resist that disease, and is now
the exclusive variety in the whole region.  Cavendish is also larger and
slightly less "fruity" tasting than Williams.  Williams survives in many
other parts of the world where bunchy top did not strike.  I grew it
while living on Saipan in the early 80's, and it is widespread across
Micronesia, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia.

Incidentally, bananas are one fruit that absolutely has to be picked
green.  If left on the tree after achieving full size, every banana will
split open on the stalk.  I say this because I have split quite a few
bananas.

Rgds, Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA


 

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