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Banana Tech

Touch the Soil News #568

Global banana production is over 300 billion pounds a year – that’s 40 lbs. of bananas for every person in the world. It can take 3-4 years to grow a banana tree from seed and up to two (2) years when planting a banana sapling. In addition, bananas need tropical weather to produce. Given the time frames, and geographical constraints, it takes lots of logistics to get enough bananas to meet the global appetite.

However, some amazing banana technology is being developed. One in particular is very promising if not downright odd. Banana researchers in Japan have discovered that if you take a banana sapling and freeze it to 60 degrees below zero, let it thaw and then plant it, you can get a banana crop in about four (4) months. In addition, the freeze-thawed bananas can be raised in cooler temperatures.

Setsuzo Tanaka of D&T Farm spent 40 years developing a breading technique called "the freeze-thaw awakening method."

Tanaka explains that he had many setbacks over the past 40 years in developing the technology to freeze and thaw banana saplings. This was in addition to managing a shipbuilding and shipping company. Tanaka said he has spent $4.5 million of his own money to fund the research.

Should Tanaka’s banana technology reach a point to where it can be scaled up, banana production could move to cooler climates and help diversity our food security.

Following is an interesting banana harvesting video from Dole:

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