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Bananas are one of the main cash crops in Mozambique. Moreover, it is a primary source of food and income for a majority of the population.
And for the last few years, there has been a myriad of changes for the Mozambique banana industry. From the ministry of agriculture banning the transport of bananas in the northern parts of the county to prevent the spread of disease to the ever-increasing South Africa export market.
There are two varieties of bananas in Mozambique; Apple banana (banana-mac and Dwarf Cavendish (Cavendish AAA). Apple banana is small and tasty fruits that are easily perishable, while Dwarf Cavendish is a banana variety that is grown throughout the year. Other types include Grand Naine and Chinese Cavendish.
In Mozambique, the top grown variety is Cavendish, whose farmers grow throughout the year.
Mozambique boasts of a mild tropical climate that supports banana growing. The conditions that characterize the environment include mild heat and cold, high amount of rainfall. The soils are mostly fertile with good drainage and higher moisture-retention ability.
Also, the well-developed road network in Mozambique makes it easier to transport fruits. Nearby, the major ports are within 200-300km of Mozambique bananas production zones. These features support banana farming in Mozambique.
In Mozambique, you’ll find many large business entities that grow bananas for commercial purposes. In Maputo, they include Bananalandia, Libombos Macadamia Lda, Tropical Frutos, Lda, and small scale entity called Individual Families Farmers associations.
Banana production has also been steadily increased over the years in Mozambique. It’s only in 2016 where the production capacity lowered to 518,00 tonnes. According to recent data, there is an increase in 2017 production to 580,000 tonnes. The majority of these bananas end up in the south African market.
Most large scale banana-farmers and small scale farmers grow their bananas and outsource the processing to banana processing industries in Maputo. These industries handle the storage, packing, transportation, and grading of the bananas.
Of all the diseases, the fusarium wilt or Panama disease is the worst threat as it can wipe out banana production in an area completely. Fusarium wilt is also known as Panama disease. In the 1950s, it wiped out the then-dominant strain of bananas, the Gros Michel variety. After the incident, farmers switched to other banana varieties.
Recently in 2018, the disease struck two farms of Jacaranda in Cabo Degado and a plantation in Nampule belonging to the Matanuska company. It led to severe losses in 1550 acres of Matanuska company leading to the company declaring bankruptcy. It also led to a series of events, including the quarantines on the exports of bananas in the county to prevent the spread of the disease.
Bananas’ popularity in Mozambique is fast becoming a reliable food and cash crop. Its production output keeps increasing every year, and experts predict that it will reach more than 1,000,000 tonnes in 2021.
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