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Ethiopia banana famously known as the desert banana is native to South East Asia. The fruit later was grown by Portugal, Spain, America in that order before it was introduced to the African continent.
Ethiopia bananas are extensively farmed in the tropical and subtropical climate regimes. The crop is cultivated in family gardens located in the western and Southwestern regions which are relatively small while another section of farmers produces it on medium size and large sized pieces of land averaging 10 hectares, 20 hectares respectively. The small-scale farming contributes up-to 35% of the country’s bananas produce which is consumed locally while the large-scale farmers avail the fruit for export. Ethiopia exports around 60,000 metric tons across the Gulf of Aden to Saudi Arabia. It has several nutritional benefits to the body as it constitutes potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin C.
Types of bananas
• Dwarf Cavendish-Usually cultivated by the family growers. It grows six feet tall and produces a sweet, tasty banana.
• The Giant Cavendish-Characterized by relatively high height and irregular bunches. Commonly grown by smallholder farms
• Newer varieties include; Grand Nain, Poyo, and Williams which thrive in the Gamo-Gofa banana producing areas as well as new cultivars of Butuzua and Robusta which are available across the country.
The Ethiopia banana is exported in its unripe form.
Banana suckers are planted 3-3.5 m apart from each other and are arranged in rows. Farmers pay close attention to their fields to monitor weed. During the dry months where rainfall is minimal, they irrigate their farms using the furrow and drip irrigation which are the most practiced methods amidst the farmers.
To boost yields traditional farming methods whereby growers administer organic fertilizers on their fields in the form of animal dung and compost. The advantage of sticking to such traditional means is that the country can avail a naturally produced banana fruit for local and international consumption.
The harvesting process for Ethiopia bananas begins with measuring the optimal diameter of the hands, which should be ideally the same. The bunch is then cut meticulously before surface transportation by truck to the packing house. The fruits then go into a storage area. Preferably, the test for the export-ready banana requires the careful removal of one single finger from a bunch and cutting it into two. If it is completely white inside and has no smell, then it indicates that the entire hand is unripe and is ready for shipping.
Nonetheless, the fruit undergoes a final compulsory step moments before its shipping out of the country where it goes through testing phytosanitary conformity at Dire Dawa or Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia banana is one of the best-produced fruit and the farmers’ willingness to conform to the Good Agricultural Practice guidelines that demand that the fruit be grown using natural means to the latter is enough testament. Shipment takes place a few days after one makes an order. Make your order!