Today we went to two different plantations; one grows and exports bananas and the other does the same with pineapple. These two plantations were extremely different from the coffee. First, we visited the banana plantation that was run by a local family. Here, their plot of land with bananas and plantains was very small compared to the previous coffee plantations such as Doka. The bananas and plantains were by far the least complex out of the three plants. First, a banana plant grows up into a full sized “mother” and produces a bunch of bananas. During this process, the “babies” start to grow at the bottom. When the plant is finished in the process of the bananas, the workers will chop down the entire plant, take the bushel, and start over again with the babies. These bananas are then packaged and sold.
Next, we visited the pineapple plantation just a little bit down the road. Similar to the coffee plantations, the pineapple farmers had lots of land dedicated to growing the fruit. As we toured through the plantation, our guide explained to us how complex it is to grow pineapple. They require lots of maintaining and testing to see what nutrients they lack in order to grow into its full fruit. The pineapple reaches its potential after a full year of growing and is then shipped to the Americas and Europe.
Both the pineapple and banana plantation workers talked about sustainability at their farm. The pineapple plantation is 100% organic meaning they can’t use any pesticides or herbicides on the plant. The banana plantation takes a similar approach but instead uses their own compost in order to fertilize the plants. Both of these plantations face threats that can have very negative effects. First, there is a small animal that lives underground that really enjoys eating the banana root, overtime killing the plant. Along with this, the banana plants are clones of each other so if one gets sick, the rest do. On the other hand, pineapples are very difficult to grow because they grow under their own conditions. Therefor, the workers have to take tests in labs to ensure the pineapples are healthy.
If I were to work on one of the plantations, it would definitely be on the pineapple plantation. After going on the tour today, I realized that although the business is very demanding and important, they have fun. Our tour guide was so knowledgeable about the pineapple plant, but at the same time he was very fun and light hearted. I could see myself working with people like who we met today. Along with that, who wouldn’t love eating that pineapple all day??