Locals of Gisborne on New Zealand’s North Island have been growing bananas for decades. But recent years of climate change have peaked the interest of the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation who have granted company Tai Pukenga and AgResearch NZ$100,000 (US$68,000) in funding to realise commercial volumes.
TVNZ reported that the country’s Northland region grows bananas for the domestic market successfully, and Tai Pukenga want to see Gisborne produce volumes to supply the nation.
A local enthusiast, Trevor Mills, told TVNZ that once banana plants are in the ground they “grow like topsy.”
“If you plant 50 plants, you will get 150 to 200 plants from that initial 50,” he said.
Annually, New Zealand households spend around NZ$88 (US$60) on bananas alone each year, and the country imports over 87m kgs.
AgResearch has been touring the region, collecting samples and speaking with locals. Scientist Jane Mullaney says they’ll need to grow a lot more trees for the project to become a success.