Gisborne growers want to grow bananas domestically

Bananas are far and away the most popular fruit in New Zealand. Supermarket figures show that 80% of customers going into the fruit and vegetable section will buy bananas, with apples coming in at second place at around 60%.

New Zealand is one of the leading banana importers in the world. The vast majority are imported from places like Ecuador and the Philippines.

It’s long been assumed that producing bananas commercially is not possible in New Zealand, but Trevor Mills, Tai Pukenga banana project manager, argues that’s no longer the case. The warming climate and further research into the viability of banana crops is seeing a boom in production across the motu.

“…as the climate becomes more tropical, tropical fruits are going to really enjoy it. On the flip side, if there is an accelerating change to a more tropical climate as it looks like we’re seeing, crops like grapes and kiwifruit and apples could struggle.”

Mills says banana crops are an increasingly attractive possibility for Māori incorporations, creating employment and a more productive and less intensive form of farming than running livestock.


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