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Fukushima strives for revival - luxury bananas with edible skins

Growers, once hard-hit by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, have harvested high-grade bananas for the first time, which they are counting on to revive the town's agricultural businesses. The bananas, which originate in the area, were picked on Aug. 19.

Now, they won't be cheap. One banana will cost about 300 yen ($2.80). They do, however, have edible skins. After soliciting brand names for the bananas from the public, farmers decided to call them “Kirei”, meaning “beautiful”.

It's a moment farmers and local residents have long yearned for. The town lies along the Pacific coast in the southern part of the Hamadori district where sales of agricultural products from the area flatlined following the accident at the plant triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Local residents have high expectations for the harvest, seen as the first step toward recovery since the 2011 disaster. By next spring, about 35,000 Kirei bananas will be harvested. The town plans to put itself back on the map for agriculture by expanding its distribution as luxury bananas produced in Fukushima Prefecture.


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