Malaysians generally are known to enjoy their hot ‘goreng pisang’ for afternoon tea. They are a large part of our very diverse food culture. Apart from being a fantastic cooking ingredient, bananas are a great snack for those on the go. It is a good source of energy and highly nutritious.
Banana Varieties in Malaysia
Malaysia has a great variety of bananas for our consumption. Here is an entire list we put together for your pleasure.
Why are our choices limited?
Although, we have many varieties in Malaysia, we generally end up consuming only two; ‘Berangan’ and ‘Cavendish’. According to an article in The STAR, both varieties were chosen due to their resistance to diseases and pests. Unfortunately, the nutritional content which can enhance our diet from other varieties is invariably lost. Our choices as consumers are limited and we also lose out on nutrition.
The bananas are grown in large plantations in Malaysia covering about 27,500 hectares. There is a high risk these monoculture plantations (predominantly single crop) of exposure to disease and pests incidences which can cause severe devastation and loss to farmers.
The Mighty ‘Cavendish’
The Cavendish variety was brought in from the Philippines because its yields were high compared to local variety and provides a sustainable supply. But this also impacts the biodiversity of the bananas in Malaysia which will then slowly vanish because it is being replaced by the Cavendish variety. This is a cause for concern because it puts our fruit security at great risk.
Reference: ‘Mardi works to protect diversity of fruit crops’ http://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/features/2015/03/16/mardi-works-to-protect-diversity-of-fruit-crops/