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Introduction

In Africa, banana and plantain have traditionally been grown and consumed locally, mainly as ‘starchy staple’ foods or fermented beverages. Plantains predominate in the humid forest zone of West Africa and in lowland Central Africa, while East African highland bananas are prevalent in mountainous areas of Central and East Africa. Both are grown by smallholders, mainly in traditional farming systems. Dessert bananas were introduced to Africa much later, during the colonial period, as a plantation crop for export, and continue to be cultivated in this way.

Access to reliable data on crop production and marketing is vital for effective planning in research and economic development, yet few countries in Africa have the resources to collect such data systematically. This is especially true for a crop distributed across many households backyards and in small plots. Improving the system used to record banana data will be important for strategy implementation.

The above text is taken from the document: Strategy elements to transform the banana sector in Africa (www.banana2008.com/cms/details/BananaStrategy.pdf)