Carnarvon banana growers in Western Australia are enjoying their best ever summer harvest because of perfect growing conditions. But while many bananas have grown to double their normal size, there are now concerns they could go to waste.
Generally, Carnarvon bananas are recognised for their smaller size, and the Sweeter Banana Cooperative has, over the past 20 years, successfully carved out a niche by marketing these as perfect for lunch boxes.
Sweeter Banana Cooperative manager Doriana Mangili, pictured, said growers this year enjoyed perfect tropical conditions, including mild temperatures and high humidity. Heatwaves and November winds that normally stress the crops, resulting in bananas being smaller, did not arrive this year. “That means some of our fruit is a fair bit larger than it normally is. The bananas picked during summer are usually a bit bigger than at other times of year, but at the moment they are more than double the normal size,” she said.
Ironically though, the bigger bananas had the potential to cause headaches for growers, with concerns they could go to waste if there was no market. There was also plenty of confusion.
“Some people didn’t believe they were our Carnarvon-grown bananas because they’ve become accustomed to these being small. Others thought we’ve done something unusual to them to make them bigger,” Mangili said. “To add confusion, the normally big Queensland bananas are smaller this year because of a lack of rain.”
Meanwhile, the biggest of the big bananas don’t fit into their normal protective bags, so the Sweeter Banana Co-operative had to find new markets for selling these loose.