TOKYO, April 19 – Tomoiki BIO, a firm in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture which develops seeds and plants, announced on April 18 that it has created banana plants which can be cultivated outdoors even in temperate regions, paving the way for production of bananas throughout Japan.
The cultivation of the new seedlings, said to be resistant to cold weather and pests, has already started in Kagoshima Prefecture. The firm plans to conduct limited sales of Tomoiki Banana, the pesticide-free bananas with high sugar levels, under the slogan “bananas with edible skin.”
Cultivation of bananas in Japan had been restricted to warm climate regions such as Okinawa Prefecture. Meanwhile, the seedlings, developed using the “freeze thaw awakening” technique, can survive in a temperature as low as minus 17 degrees Celcius. The plants can be cultivated in temperate regions and the fruit can be harvested in nine months after the seedlings are planted, less than half of the period needed for typical bananas. Since they are resistant to pests, they can be grown without pesticides in Japan.
A new epidemic of Panama disease which destroys banana crops is spreading globally, hitting banana growing regions such as the Philippines, raising concerns over decline in production. The firm says it hopes to cultivate the new plants nationwide, starting in Kagoshima by utilizing abandoned farmlands.