Monday, June 26, 2006

Yes we have no bananas

How ironic it is that, having finally settled in a country with a tropical zone, I find myself in the middle of a banana famine.

Since Cyclone Larry hit northern Queensland and decimated more than 90% of the banana crop, bananas have been like gold dust. The few tiny withered specimens we find in the supermarkets are retailing at around $13 a kg, which is about 10 times the UK price. I just visited a juice bar at lunchtime, and they have a big sign saying they have no bananas in any of their products until the new crop returns sometime at the end of this year.

Why, one asks, can we just not get bananas from Malaysia or India or any of our other tropical neighbours? Because, says the government, the native banana industry is protected by tariffs and other protectionist measures, and it will take so long to get around these that the Australian banana crops will be almost ready to make a return.

So in the meantime we yearn for banana smoothies, banana with porridge, banana sandwiches, banana in our fruit salad.

And wish there was a Tesco nearby.