Bananas worth their weight in gold
By BELINDA SCOTT
MAL Husna's 62.5kg bunch has dwarfed the competition for Heaviest Bunch of Bananas at the Coffs Harbour Show.
The Woolgoolga grower's jumbo fruit would yield four and a half cartons of bananas ? and with bananas selling for around $100 a carton wholesale, that makes it worth $450. Mr Husna said one year ago an ordinary bunch of around 25kg was selling at roadside stalls for $10, but this year it is worth 10 times that ? $100.
Rocketing prices for the fruit means that bananas are almost too valuable for competitions, so this year's bunches are a tribute to the show's banana stewards, who have cut valuable bunches from their plantations to improve the display.
The Champion Bunch of the Show and the 2006 Coffs Harbour Banana Cup went to Boambee's Vasco Baston for a handsome 38kg bunch, while Bennetts Road grower Livio Pilati took out the Champion Carton, Champion Hand of Bananas and King Banana and Paul McCabe from Bruxner Park won first prize for a bunch in the Novice class.
Banana steward David Pike said yesterday that Coffs Harbour's few surviving banana growers were seeing the highest prices for their fruit in living memory.
"I went weak-kneed when they said $70 (a carton) then the next week they offered me $85," Mr Pike said.
"I have no problem putting it in the bank ? I look at it as a dividend over 20 years."
Mr Pike said the last time growers got such prices was during World War II when price was no object for American servicemen hungry for the fruit.
"There's no demand for bananas, but the supply is continuing to dwindle," Mr Pike said.