A banana´s journey from the tropics to your shopping bag
Have you ever wondered how far a banana has travelled before ending up in your fruit bowl? Or the logistics involved to get it into your blender? and how many countries it has passed through before ending up as part of your perfect pre workout snack?
Perhaps you don’t know, so let us show you the story of a Banabio banana from it’s first fruiting in Ecuador to its appearance in your supermarket.
Hi everybody! First of all I want to introduce myself. My name is Musa Sapientum (although most of you know me as Bananita). Currently; I’m lying in some region in Northern Europe. However I’m not European. My home country is Ecuador and herein lies the interesting part of my life as an exported banana. Like almost all fruit from Banabio I’m a globetrotter and what follows is my story.
I was harvested among one of the 1200 ha located in the southwest regions of Ecuador, mainly in the Guayas or El Oro provinces. Thanks to my traceability code the exact place can be easily be found. But the most remarkable thing, is that I needed dozens of people working daily to go from a flower to become part of a full grown bunch of bananas.
Moreover many resources were needed to make me grow:
- Over 3,000 sunlight hours.
- Water (Crop water need): 1,200-2,200 mm/total growing period (the average annual rainfall in the UK in 2016 was 1,400 mm).
- Mild temperatures: 26 – 30 °C / 78 – 86 °F.
- Terrain: silty soil (rich, dark and fertile, ph 6.5 – 7).
You can imagine my ideal place to be cropped as your dream paradise holiday in a place with gentle climate.
Banana plants are actually herbs
Another important fact is that banana plants are actually herbs. They reproduce by themselves, creating new plants throughout the year (that will be another chapter of the BananitaBlog). This means that they do not stop producing. Therefore bananas are available all year round, all around the world.
After 9 months my banana plant was carefully hand cropped while still green. At this age my plant reached more than 4 meters in height. Some bunches of the plants can weight up to 50 kg and may contain up to 200 bananas each.
Our plants were visited by qualified inspectors to fulfil strict quality controls
What I liked most about my crop in Banabio was that we never grew up alone. While we were growing, all the bunches from our plants were visited by qualified inspectors to fulfil strict quality control procedures. Only after passing them could we be harvested at the right moment. Then we were picked up by hand and carefully loaded onto a pulley system to bring us to the packing shed.
At the packhouse, our bunches were separated into smaller ones, washed and then packed.
Before being packed, workers controlled our size, shape and color. If we accomplished all your requirements, we were given the trademark branding and stored in our travelling boxes.
My road and sea trip
Beautifully packed up we were sent by lorry to the docks. This trip lasted around a few hours.
At the docks; we were put onboard ships and in specially cooled containers to not ripen too early in our eighteen-day journey. Here; humidity, ventilation and temperature conditions were carefully monitored in order to maintain quality.
From Ecuador we sailed the Pacific Ocean, crossed the Panama Camal and the Atlantic Ocean before reaching Europe.
When we arrived at our destination port, we were once again rigorously inspected to ensure that the standards of quality were satisfactory maintained.
Once checked that everything was in order, we were stacked in sealed rooms. After seven days, we turned yellow and sweet in a controlled atmosphere, for the moment stores asked for us to be transported to their shelves.