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2014 – Costa Rica – Doka Estate – Not ripe for Picking – yet
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Image by Ted’s photos – Returns Late September
Doka Estate Coffee has a small section growing other food bearing plants like these banana.

BANANAS IN COSTA RICA:
20 Mar 2014
Fresh Plaza – Global Fresh Produce and Banana News:

Jorge Arturo Sauma Aguilar, manager of CORBANA
Costa Rican bananas competing in a saturated world market:

Although more famous for its pineapples, Costa Rica devotes around 44,000 hectares to the cultivation of bananas; less than 1% of the country’s territory. 48% of the business is in the hands of small producers and the rest in those of companies such as Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte.

Costa Rica’s most common bananas are the Gran Enano Valery and the famous Cavendish, "which is considered the world’s best banana," says Jorge Arturo Sauma Aguilar, manager of CORBANA.

The banana market is becoming increasingly saturated:
"Banana production has expanded without control in recent years and this is leading to an increasingly more saturated market. Considering the market’s global status, all producing countries should hold off a little if they wish to continue making a profit. First it was Ecuador, now also the Philippines, Guatemala or Cameroon, whose produce stands at considerably lower prices," he explains.

"The wages of a Costa Rican labourer are not the same as those of an African or Filipino and we cannot compete with that. That is why we need to do as much as possible to let consumers know about the value added by ethical social and environmental policies. We are currently working with the EU for the designation of a Protected Geographical Indication to Costa Rica’s bananas."

The European Union and the United States are the two largest markets for Costa Rica’s bananas, and Sauma Aguilar believes that, despite the oversupply, there is still room for growth.

"I think we can still grow in the North American market, and our supply volumes to some EU countries could also increase. We are also really interested in entering markets in the Middle East, like Dubai or Saudi Arabia, where healthy eating habits are being strongly promoted by their governments."

Race 4 Fusarium: the greatest threat to Costa Rican bananas
Competition with other countries is not the only obstacle for Costa Rica’s banana sector. "The greatest threat to our produce is the Race 4 Fusarium virus, which has yet to affect us, but if it did, it would cause incalculable losses.

At the latest congress organised by Corbana we recognised it as a real threat, and we determined that a joint effort from all Latin American nations, as well as the exporting countries, is required to prevent such threats."

Fairtrade and organic in Costa Rica:
Even though not many Costa Rican companies are Fairtrade certified, Sauma Aguilar believes that Corbana is fundamentally a Fairtrade producer, as "great efforts are carried out for the protection of the environment, with assistance from the Environmental Banana Commission (CAB), and for improvements to be made to the labourers’ social structure. There is still a lot of work to do, but most of our producers are certified by Global Gap, ISO 14001 or Rainforest Alliance."
Regarding the organic market, "it is harder to grow organic bananas in Costa Rica than in other places like Piura, in Peru. Temperatures are very high here and we need some phytosanitary control mechanisms."

All three forms of trade likely to prevail:
In what concerns banana trade, Sauma Aguilar believes that, despite the latest trend among large supermarket chains, like Walmart and Tesco, of working directly with producers, the other two forms of trade are also likely to prevail.

"I think that there will still be producers working through large distributors, as well as others exporting the fruit themselves. All trading forms are acceptable as long as growers are able to make a profit."

About CORBANA:
The National Banana Corporation (CORBANA) is a non-state, public entity, founded with the goal of promoting research in Costa Rica’s banana industry and improving the situation for producers. "The Costa Rican government hands over all research and technological transfer issues to CORBANA. We also offer assessment to the government in matters of trade and treaty development, such as the latest one signed with the European Union," concludes Sauma Aguilar.

BANANAS – GOOD or BAD??

by Amy Margulies, lead registered dietitian for Retrofit
"why-is-everyone-so-terrified-to-eat-bananas-a-dietitian-peels-back-the-truth":
You’ve probably heard people talking, or read articles online, about why eating bananas is bad for you nutritionally and can impede weight loss. While some people insist that bananas are just fine, others are convinced this is a fruit you should stay away from if you’re trying to lose weight – and many do, just in case the rumors are true. But what’s the real deal with bananas? It’s time to peel open this myth.
What the critics are saying
The controversy started with Dr. Susanna Holt, an Australian researcher who developed the Satiety Index, a way to evaluate how full different foods make you feel. “We found that bananas are much less satisfying than oranges or apples,” Holt stated at the conclusion of the satiety study.
Bananas are generally higher in calories from carbs than most fruits. So for those who are counting calories, this may seem like a poor choice for a snack. People have also observed that bananas cause a “binding” effect, or put more simply, they cause constipation. That’s something you don’t want when you look to the scale for signs of progress.
Another side to the story
While the above claims may be true, there are more positive attributes to eating bananas. It turns out that they also contain resistant starch, a dietary fiber that the body can’t actually absorb. As a result, you feel full without absorbing additional weight in the long term. What’s more, according to Dr. Janine Higgins at the Colorado Clinical and Transitional Sciences Institute, research indicates that resistant starch can increase the rate of fat burning your body does after a meal.
Combined with potassium and other vitamins and minerals that occur naturally in bananas, there are some serious benefits that the banana-mashers tend to ignore. It’s no surprise we see stories from people like Loni Jane, who lost weight and improved her health significantly when she made bananas a major part of her diet.
What’s your take?
Some people will always believe the hype, despite the facts. But the truth is that the science is in favor of bananas being part of a healthy, weight-loss friendly diet. To get the most benefit, eat bananas that are still a little bit green – that’s when there’s more resistant starch. As a banana ripens, the starch breaks down and becomes less resistant to absorption.
We’re not recommending that you eat 10 bananas a day like Loni Jane, but eating them in moderation as part of a weight loss diet and active lifestyle will bring you nothing but positive benefits – so peel away!
Also Read:

Read more at www.dietsinreview.com/diet_column/07/why-is-everyone-so-t…

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