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  • millardx07
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    Banana plants thrive naturally on deep, loose, well-drained soils in humid tropical climates, and they are grown successfully under irrigation in such semiarid regions as southern Jamaica. Suckers and divisions of the rhizome are used as planting material; the first crop ripens within 10 to 15 months, and thereafter fruit production is more or less continuous. Frequent pruning is required to remove surplus growth and prevent crowding in a banana plantation. Desirable commercial bunches of bananas consist of nine hands or more and weigh 22–65 kg (49–143 pounds). Three hundred or more such bunches may be produced annually on one acre of land and are harvested before they fully ripen on the plant. Bananas and plantains constitute a major staple food crop for millions of people in developing countries. In many tropical countries, green bananas used for cooking represent the main cultivars. Most producers are small-scale farmers either for home consumption or local markets. Bananas and plantains are important for global food security. Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between “bananas” and “plantains”. Especially in the Americas and Europe, “banana” usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, which are the main exports from banana-growing countries. In the US, as of 2019, these bananas, by poundage, are the most consumed fresh fruit.

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