Bananas growing on the treeGrowing bananas is hard work. It takes months to clearthe land, dig holes and put in banana plants. After aboutsix months, the banana fruit begins to appear.At an early stage the growing bananas are wrapped inblue plastic. This stops the fruit from getting damaged. Italso protects the fruit against pesticides that are sprayedon the plants.
Freshly Cut BananasAfter nine months, the bananas are harvested using asharp knife. Bananas are still green when they are picked.They grow in clusters, which are known as hands. Ahand consists of 10 to 20 bananas, also called fingers.
Labelling BananasBananas are washed and labelled before being put intoboxes.Bananas are boxed on the banana farms where they areproduced. This prevents them getting bruised.
Sorting Bananas at the WarehouseBananas are taken from the farm to a warehouse in atruck. At the warehouse they are inspected and sorted.Buyers of fruit in the UK and Ireland want unbruisedbananas and so very high standards are set. If the bananasdo not meet these standards they are sold locally at amuch lower price.After the inspection the boxes are closed and weighed.
Loading Bananas onto a shipBananas take six days to get from the Windward Islands, asmall group of islands in the southern part of the CaribbeanSea, to the UK and Ireland.They are stored in the ships hold which is refrigerated at13.3°C. This cool temperature prevents them from ripening.When the bananas reach the UK and Ireland they areripened in special centres and then sent to the shops.
Fair Trade Bananas on SaleOn average each person in the UK eats 10kgbananas a year. A lot of bananas!If you buy bananas from the Windward Islands, youwill help improve the lives of small farmers there.Buying fair trade bananas will also mean that thepeople who grow them get paid a fair price.