Banana technically is a berry, but it is considered and used as a fruit. Its scientific name is ‘Musa’ and belongs to the botanical family ‘Musaceae’. Banana is mostly consumed directly like any other fruits and in cooked or processed forms like smoothies, desserts, pies, muffins, cakes, bread, fried chips and certain alcoholic beverages.
Banana has more than 1000 varieties and is the second most popular and consumed fruit in the world, preceded by tomato. Banana is similar to plantains, but it is higher in fiber, harder in texture and lower in carbs while plantains are lower in fiber, softer in texture, higher in carbs and different in taste.
Banana is believed to have originated from Southeast Asia - Indonesia, Malaysia or the Philippines more than 10,000 years ago, from where it was introduced mainly to India, Australia, Europe and African regions. However, at present banana is cultivated in more than 150 countries.
The banana plant is the largest herb in the world and on average it grows up to 16 feet in height and some of the varieties, namely ‘giant highland banana’ plants attain the height up to 50 feet. Well-drained, fertile alluvial and volcanic soils are the best for the plants that thrive in warm and wet conditions. Normally, depending on the varieties the plants take 10 to 15 months to bear the fruits, technically the bunch.
A banana bunch is comprised of many fruits or the bananas called ‘fingers’ that number up to 100 or 200 on average depending on the varieties. The fruits as a bunch are arranged on a hard stem in double row clusters called ‘hands’ that consist of 10 to 20 bananas that are normally 8 inches in length, 1.5 inches in width and yellow in colour.
The fruits are rich in nutrients as they contain carbohydrates, fat, fibers, proteins, potassium, Magnesium, Manganese, and vitamins B6 and C which make them one of the popular and favourite fruits across the world.
The largest producer of banana and different varieties of plantain is India, followed by China, Indonesia, Brazil, Ecuador, Philippines, Guatemala and Tanzania. And India is also the largest consumer of bananas. The largest exporter is Ecuador, followed by Philippines, Costa Rica and Columbia. And the US imports the most banana, followed by Belgium, Russia, Japan, Germany and China.
In India, the largest producer of banana is Andhra Pradesh, followed by Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Bihar where the banana is planted and harvested throughout the year, though there are specific planting and harvest seasons.
Some of the major trading markets of banana in India:
Andhra Pradesh(Visakhapatnam, Timmapuram, Batuva, Narsapur)
Maharashtra( Mumbai, Pune, Tembhurni, Shirpur)
Gujarat(Surat, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Valsad)
Tamil Nadu(Madurai, Tirupathur, Thanjavur, Erode)
Names of banana in different Indian languages:
*Take necessary precautions while giving money or product in advance.