Banana Market, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

 Bananas are sorted by quality and origin before being transferred to local markets for immediate consumption.

Bananas are sorted by quality and origin before being transferred to local markets for immediate consumption.

Banana is an important crop throughout Asia and plays an important role in Myanmar cuisine as well as religious ceremonies.  This plant (actually an herb) grows extremely rapidly (up to 20 feet in a year) in the rich, damp Irrawaddy river delta.  Burma produces as many as 25 varieties of banana in a range of textures, flavors, shapes and various shades of red, green and yellow. Burmese bananas often assume the exotic sounding names of the places they are produced such as Tangwoo, Twante or Pechan.  

 Bananas are sorted by origin and quality before being sold and transported to local markets.

Bananas are sorted by origin and quality before being sold and transported to local markets.

 Burma produces a wide range of bananas in various textures, flavors, shapes and many shades of red, green and yellow

Burma produces a wide range of bananas in various textures, flavors, shapes and many shades of red, green and yellow

Because of the lack of technology development and modern methodologies, most bananas produced in Burma are transported as quickly as possible for domestic consumption.  China does invest in Myanmar banana production, purchasing fruit well in advance as well as providing oversight to production and harvest to ensure the fruit is suitable to survive the longer journey abroad. 

   
  
 
  
    
  
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   Banana stalks make ready handles for transportation.

Banana stalks make ready handles for transportation.

 Young men take a break after unloading bananas to play chinlone, a popular Myanmar game similar to hackysac.

Young men take a break after unloading bananas to play chinlone, a popular Myanmar game similar to hackysac.

Bananas are manually harvested and transported while still on the stalks by truck or small boats to the major markets and distribution centers in Yangon and Mandalay.  As bananas are unloaded, they are sorted and stacked by origin, variety and quality. You can see the mark of a particular farm carved directly onto the stalks.