Bananas of New Zealand Aotearoa, BONZA, was formed in 2019 by colleagues who wish to participate in the development of a growing banana industry. New Zealand grown bananas have the potential to be an important part of the mix of crops grown in this country - in fact, one of the largest by volume. New Zealand imports approximately 72,000 tonnes of bananas per year so it makes sense if we can produce a portion of that ourselves.
we are developing capability in this area with two facilities gearing up to meet the specific demands of bananas and subsequently moving into full production. Tissue culture enables the quick multiplication of plants which is important as demand for planting stock outstrips supply. Tissue culture, not to be confused with genetic engineering, is a way of producing identical stock which exhibit all the characteristics of field grown plants.
Growing Methods and Systems
we have developed expertise in these areas, though, there is still much to understand in a New Zealand context. This presents new challenges, and opportunities, in plantation establishment and management. It is worth noting that bananas are well suited to growing under an organic system.
BONZA has agreements in place for marketing produce including traditional and other marketing channels with all regulatory requirements being met.
bananas possess a number of useful qualities and can be used to produce items such as novel foods, nutraceuticals and packaging. Initial investigations in conjunction with CRI's have already begun.
while the current plantings of bananas are mostly of the Misiluki variety which produce a good all round fruit this may not be optimal for a variety of reasons. BONZA growers are undertaking trials to identify the best varieties and growing regimes, including organics.
BONZA is partnering with a Tai Rawhiti (East Coast) organisation and is in the process of developing partnerships with other growing and research organisations.