Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world. The banana is, in fact, not a tree but a high herb that grows up to 15 metres. It is believed that there are almost 1000 varieties of bananas in the world, subdivided in 50 groups. The most commonly known banana is the Cavendish variety, which is the one produced for export markets. Bananas are grown in more than 150 countries, producing 105 million tonnes of fruit per year.

The bananas grown for local consumption are generally grown in traditional, extensive systems. Dessert bananas account for 43 million tonnes per year and are of huge economic importance for many countries in the South. Cooking bananas (plantains and others) account for 45 million tonnes. Locally consumed bananas, which are a staple food in many tropical countries, play a major role in terms of food security.

It is believed that the earliest written reference to banana is in Sanskrit and dates back to around 500 BC. Bananas are suspected to be the first fruit in the earth by some horticulturists. Their origin is placed in Southeast Asia, in the jungles of Malaysia, Indonesia or Philippines, where many varieties of wild bananas still grow today. Africans are credited to have given the present name, since the word banana would be derived from the Arab for ‘finger’. They started to be traded internationally by the end of fourteenth century. The development of railroads and technological advances in refrigerated maritime transport subsequently enabled bananas to become the most important world traded fruit.

In Dominican Republic, more than 80% of banana is organic and exported. The Dominican banana sector generates US $420 million a year and creates more than 32,000 jobs, 44% of which are permanent and 12% of which are for women.

But beyond the nutritive value of this fruit, is art compatible with this culture ?

Definitely yes ! 

Can we imagine marrying the culture of bananas and sustainable development ? Here is a way to create a new export through agricultural recycling, directly employing over a dozen people and increasing income for local farmers.

Definitely yes ! 

PACO found a new Art Pepita in …. Micronesia ! The Green Banana Paper.

The plan is to collect the abundant agricultural waste from farmers and turn it into high quality finished products here on the island. Though banana fibers have a wide range of uses, The Green Banana Paper company decided to focus on making handmade papers because the love of art and creativity. It also helps that the papers are lightweight and economical to ship from Micronesia ! The question is : is that a new idea for the Caribbean also ?

Only benefits !

The whole tree is harvested and utilized.  Delicious bananas for eating.  Leafs for organic composting. Trunk for fibers used to weave and make into paper. Banana fiber is found within the large stalk.  It gives strength to the banana tree so it can hold up those heavy bananas! Banana fibers are strong and beautiful, and have been used for thousands of years throughout the islands in rope making and weaving.

Banana fiber is naturally water resistant, and we add a thin coat of wax on the outside to protect against sweat, spills or rain. If it gets wet, just let it dry and all is well!

Additionally, banana fiber is highly fire and tear-resistant.  With normal daily use and periodically reapplying wax or any other water repellant, this wallet will last you a long time!

Finaly, who wants to start a new sustainable business ?

Learn more about this incredible experience


photos and videos credits : the green banana paper