Samoan misiluki dried organic bananas were a treat at the dining table of Pacific Island Forum leaders when the product was launched in Auckland recently, according to The Epoch Times online.
The bananas, which come from around 20 growers, will be a small step in closing the large trade deficit between Samoa and New Zealand, Chris Morrison, co-founder of the All Good Organics company was reported saying.
The project is aimed at revitalising Samoa's banana trade and based on partnership between WIDBI (Women in Business Development), Oxfam New Zealand and All Good Organics.
In 2010, Samoan exports to New Zealand totalled $3 million compared to New Zealand's exports which totalled $127.5 million.
There are around 400 certified small organic growers but the venture will be starting with a just a percentage of those growers to assess future prospects, Morrison was quoted saying.
WIDBI “are looking to generate income for these poor families,” he said.
The future is looking promising already as the first shipment has already sold out and people are “clamouring” to buy organic misiluki dried bananas, Julia Collins, head of All Good's social media and marketing, said.
Morrison, who was also co-founder of Phoenix Organics, forged a relationship with Samoa 20 years ago when he was sourcing organic ginger from a grower on the island. He feels strongly about working with sustainable products.
He discovered the misiluki banana on another trip about 4 years ago and decided that it would be much better to source the fruit close to New Zealand rather than half way around the world.
The first trial was carried out with fresh misilukis, which are similar to the 'lady finger' variety, but they didn't travel well.
It was a lovely banana in Samoa, but it arrived in New Zealand black. Customers were used to the bright yellow Cavendish banana and the trial wasn't successful. The company decided to trial dried bananas which have a longer shelf life.
Morrison is confident of being able to sell the entire crop of bananas from WIDBI's co-operative and looks forward to adding mangoes, papaya and and pineapples from the island to the company's range.
Source: The Epoch Times