Local producers in Ghana exported 62,000 tonnes of bananas to the Eurozone last year. Bananas are the most exported fruits in terms of volume and they rank second after citrus fruit in terms of value.
In 2010, Ghana exported 52,000 tonnes of banana to mostly European countries, representing just one percent of the total export from around the world.
People in African and Caribbean in 2010 exported a total of 450,000 tonnes, representing 23 per cent of the market share with almost all of the African supply coming from only two sources: C�te d�Ivoire and Cameroon and marginal quantities originating from Ghana.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics, total export of bananas accounted for 15 million tonnes in 2010 valued at over US$7 billion. The European banana market is the largest in the world, with about 5.5 million tonnes imported per year.
Since 2006 when the European Union (EU) opened its market, there has been a rise in exports of between 2 and 5 percent annually. Though there are approximately 300 species of bananas, only 20 varieties are commercially cultivated.
In most places where the commercial value of bananas has been realized, some companies in the banana business rake in foreign exchange by exporting fresh and tasty fruits.
While high quality fruits are exported to earn foreign exchange, the bad ones are sold in local markets or consumed by farmers and their families. The luscious tropical fruit is a major commercial commodity for Ghana which does not want to be left out in the growing international business.
Cavendish variety, the most preferred, is cultivated by both small holder farmers and large companies.
George Kporye is the managing Director of Golden Exotics Limited (GEL), the largest exporter of banana in Ghana- probably the country�s version of chiquita Brands International Inc, the leading distributor of bananas in the United States. Mr Kporye, who has more than 20 years of experience growing mostly banana, papaya, mango and pineapple, told CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE that �the banana business in Ghana is very young.�
He spoke to the paper after the inauguration of the African Pineapples and Bananas Association (APIBANA), which seeks to promote Africa�s share of the Euro market GEL exported 90 per cent out of the total 57,000 tonnes of Ghana�s banana export in 2010.
Banana cultivation requires huge investment in infrastructure and technology. The few farms in Ghana rely on physical labour because banana production requires intensive labour in order to obtain the required quality.
Labour is required to clear the land while banana bunches are covered with polyethylene bags in order to protect them from wind and attacks from insects or birds, as well as to maintain optimum temperatures.
The international trade of bananas started by the end of the 19th century but until then Europeans and North Americans could not enjoy them because of the lack of appropriate transport for bananas. Aside its availability, the fruit is also affordable and enjoyed by both the old and young.
Research has proved that consuming just two bananas provide enough energy to undertake a strenuous 90-minute workout. There are two main varieties of bananas: the fruit or sweet banana and the horse banana which is the cooking banana.
The fruit banana is eaten raw out when it turns yellow and develops a succulent sweetness with a soft, smooth, creamy and firm pulp while the horse banana which is sometimes referred to as the vegetable has low water content and starch.
Source: Daily Guide
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