By Sodiq Lawal
Bananas are one of the most popular fruits worldwide. They contain essential nutrients that can have protective impact on our health. Eating bananas can help lower blood pressure and may reduce the risk of cancer. This article will take a look at the interesting things that people don’t know about bananas. Here are some rather interesting facts:
1. The European Union (32%) and the United States (25%) are the largest importers of bananas.
2. Philippines has the highest per capita consumption, about 132 per year, followed by Brazil. About 100 billion bananas are consumed globally, each year.
3. It is believed that bananas originated about 10,000 years ago and may have been the world’s first fruit.
4. Today’s bananas began to be developed around 650 AD in Africa.
5. The fruit was first introduced to the Americas in the 16th century by the Spanish missionaries.
6. The plant that produces bananas is commonly called a tree, but is the largest herbaceous flowering plant while the trunk is actually a false stem.
7. When the plant is mature, it stops producing new leaves and forms flower spikes, also known as the “banana heart”. Each plant usually produces one only. The fruit is produced from the banana heart and hang in a large cluster made of tiers.
8. Bananas that are exported are picked green and ripened at the destination country.
9. About 20 to 40 metric tonnes of bananas can be harvested from 1 hectare, or 2.47 acres.
10. The exact number of bananas produced globally is hard to track since production is commonly done by smallholder farms and are traded in the informal sector. For example, about 70 to 80 per cent of production in Africa are local farms that have been growing for over 1,000 years, which are mostly cooking bananas.