Indonesia Anonymus

We are a group of Indonesians, ranting about our beloved country. This blog is a result of many people grumbling about many things in many ways.
Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com


Anonymus is the Latin word for anonymous, the correct English spelling. The Latin spelling, however, is traditionally used by scholars in the humanities to refer to an ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Read more at Wikipedia.

Our blog in Bahasa Indonesia (but rarely updated) can be found here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Going Bananas

One colleague told us that bananas sold at a supermarket near her home are all imported. She could not even find the typical Indonesia's 'pisang ambon' anymore.
"My kids love pisang ambon and I just can't find them anymore... Whatever happen to them?"

We certainly don't have a problem growing them. One other colleague once complained how banana trees grew so quickly in his backyard. He enjoys the fruit (so do his neighbors, because the trees produce more than he and his family can handle), but "it's growing so fast, invading my garden. If I let it the whole backyard will just be banana trees, and that ain't pretty... !"

A silly example, but shows that growing bananas is not exactly rocket science. So why do we need to import?

Here's more fact to tickle your brain:
the bananas imported to this country is the cavendish type. If you notice, this type is not exactly tasty. It also goes bad really fast. Bananas cannot survive more than two weeks after they are cut off the tree [1]. Yes, that's with refrigeration. Two weeks. So this fruit will have to travel all the way from say Guatemala to our supermarket in within that timeframe.

And yet they are sold cheaply at the supermarkets while Indonesian bananas are non existent.


Let's go back to the 'growing bananas is not rocket science'.
In your backyard, yes. But to produce them for mass market? That's a different story.

The reason why the bananas imported are all cavendish, is because that's all there is. There are more than 1000 varieties of bananas, but "by sticking to this single variety, the banana industry ensures that all the bananas in a shipment ripen at the same rate, creating huge economies of scale.

And the bananas can reach the market real quickly by clearing rainforest in Latin America, building railroads and communication networks and inventing refrigeration techniques to control ripening [1]".

Still wondering why it is easier to find a Chiquita?


[1] International Herald Tribune