Going bananas with some help from science

New Zealand is not known as a natural home for producing bananas, but AgResearch scientists can see great potential after bringing their expertise to support growers and kickstart new growing trials across the country.

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in New Zealand – more than $220 million worth of bananas are imported annually to satisfy the demand.

The fruit is typically grown in warmer climates, but a visiting Australian expert has noted that with New Zealand’s longer daylight hours and the option of growing under covers, the results can often be just as good, while also offering unique Kiwi flavours and characteristics.

“Once they are established, they grow quickly when it’s warm enough (over 14degC),” says AgResearch scientist Dr Jane Mullaney.

“They are generally very tolerant of drought, with what is described as vertical water storage holding much of their water in the stems. Unlike some plants, you don’t have to keep planting again every year.” Continue reading