According to Statistics NZ, bananas are the most popular fruit in the country – now Gisborne is trying to develop a growing industry to produce the fruit and satisfy our appetites.
The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has recently granted 93,455 of funding) is to nurture the growth of a banana industry through the rapid expansion of commercial Banana growing in Tārawhiti in partnership with a company, Tai Pukenga Limited.
The Gisborne-based management consultancy company will partner with AgResearch on a project to develop tissue cultures for growing banana crops, and the genotyping of cultivars.
Northland already has a fledging banana-growing industry – and many Gisborne folk have tried growing bananas at homes for personal consumption – but most of the fruit sold in NZ comes from Ecuador, the Philippines, Mexico, Panama and the United States.
AgResearch scientists Dr Jane Mullaney and Dr Wajid Hussain will lead the project.