[25 June/Stuff]

Te Taraiwhiti, a new banana venture, hoped to capitalise on New Zealand’s love for bananas. According to Statistics New Zealand, bananas were the most popular fruit in New Zealand. Taxpayer funds have been given to help develop a banana growing industry centred on Gisborne. This would add to the already thriving banana growing business in Northland. The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment gave Tai Pukenga $93,000 to partner with AgResearch on a project to develop tissue cultures for growing banana crops. Tai Pukenga Banana Project Manager, Trevor Mills, said enthusiasts in the area had been growing bananas for decades. Chairman of Tropical Fruit Growers New Zealand, Hugh Rose, added it was possible to have a cash crop within two years of planting. He advised dairy farmers to grow bananas as feed and nutrient pollution solution. Mr Mills predicted Northland bananas could be in stores in two years’ time.