Z.C. De Beer, A. Sigawa
The banana (Musa spp.) cultivars grown in the rural areas of South Africa are ‘Pisang Awak’ (ABB genome) (70%) and ‘Cavendish’ (AAA genome) (30%) in contrast to only ‘Cavendish’ in the commercial banana growing areas. ‘Pisang Awak’ is a hardy banana cultivar that is currently not grown for commercial purposes but as a domestic fruit for home use on small plots and as a fencing shrub. It does not seem to require expert commercial farming skills to cultivate and requires very little in terms of care as compared to established banana cultivars currently on the market. This makes it ideal for exploitation as a commercial crop by rural communities in these areas. However, until recently, this potential was overlooked and fruit was mostly wasted. Since the establishment of a banana-juice factory by the University of Johannesburg in 2005 in White River, South Africa, this cultivar is generating an income. Although ‘Pisang Awak’ is a low-yielding cultivar, it is a very good juice banana and up to 50% juice concentrate is extracted from the fruit in comparison to the 15% juice from ‘Cavendish’. This project is aiming to evaluate several high-yielding juice bananas including hybrids from Honduras and to supply farmers with plants in two rural banana growing areas. Technology transfer on banana production is being done to cooperatives in selected areas and transport of fruit to ripening rooms and factories is being established. In a later stage, a packhouse will be built. This industry can be expanded significantly as the market for banana juice exists and is hardly exploited by the present juice production. Because of the organization of cooperatives in different areas, farmers do not require 30 ha or more to create an income-producing business.
De Beer, Z.C. and Sigawa, A. (2010). BANANA (MUSA SPP.) JUICE PRODUCTION IN SOUTH AFRICA. Acta Hortic. 879, 233-238
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2010.879.22
juice processing, 'Pisang Awak', rural communities

Acta Horticulturae