Category: Entertainment

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Growing bananas is hard work. It takes months to clear the land, dig holes and put in banana plants. After about six months, the banana fruit begins to appear. At an early stage the growing bananas are wrapped in blue plastic. This stops the fruit from getting damaged. It also protects the fruit against pesticides that are sprayed on the plants.

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After nine months, the bananas are harvested using a sharp knife. Bananas are still green when they are picked. They grow in clusters, which are known as 'hands'. A hand consists of 10 to 20 bananas, also called fingers.

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Bananas are washed and labelled before being put into boxes. Bananas are boxed on the banana farms where they are produced. This prevents them getting bruised.

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Bananas are taken from the farm to a warehouse in a truck. At the warehouse they are inspected and sorted. Buyers of fruit in the UK want unbruised bananas and so very high standards are set. If the bananas do not meet these standards they are sold locally at a much lower price. After the inspection the boxes are closed and weighed.

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Bananas take six days to get from the Windward Islands, a small group of islands in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea, to the UK. They are stored in the ship's hold which is refrigerated at 13.3°C. This cool temperature prevents them from ripening. When the bananas reach the UK they are ripened in special centres and then sent to the shops.

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On average each person in the UK eats 10kg bananas a year. A lot of bananas! If you buy bananas from the Windward Islands, you will help small farmers. Buying fair trade bananas will also mean that the people who grow them get paid a fair price.

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Alternatively, you can view a six page photostory using these images on the children’s part of Cool Planet:

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