Main focus of SECA RICA in the initial phase I within the above named tropical fruits will be the product “banana”. The banana contains all important and vital components of dietary relevance for humans (see baby food, school children, sports nutrition, etc.) and is not yet available on the market as a PC-product.
"Banana" is directly after rice, wheat and milk the major agricultural trade good globally and the most important fruit as such! In Germany annual consumption of banana is at 10 kg per capita (ca. 800.000 t/a). In Switzerland and Germany banana is trade fruit no. 2, so it lies directly behind the most commonly sold fruit in these countries, the apple.
The banana variety "Gros Michel" (big Michael), in US-American also called "Big - Mike", was the first export banana, which was initially mainly delivered to the USA (1879). In the end 1950s this kind of banana developed to the most important trade variety within the dessert bananas. Around 1820 it was first brought from south-east Asia to Martinique. From there its cultivation rapidly spread through the Caribbean, including Jamaica. At the beginning of the 20th century the majority of stocks were affected and destroyed by the Panama Desease, a fungus (Fusarium oxyssporum f. sp. cubense). Around 1960 almost all importers of “Big Mike” where broke.
“Big Mike” was eventually substituted by the “Cavendish” from Vietnam which was impervious to the Panama Disease, although the “Big Mike” was significantly creamier and tastier than the “Cavendish”. With its thicker peel it would also need less care in harvest and transportation than the “Cavendish”. Nevertheless the “Cavendish” finally prevailed after significant initial drops in sales and is by now globally no. 4 of all agricultural trade products.
The “Big Mike” has survived in small remote areas in Costa Rica (international Name: : "musa acuminata AAA") and is cultivated there, e.g. in the state of Talamanca, as the “organic banana”. It was also spared of the epidemia in central Congo and a few small Island like Saint Luca. Ecological cultivation is time intensive and is done is so called mixed cultivation or ecofarming with coconut palms as shading and wind protection. Fertilization is done with organic mulching and weeding is done purely mechanically by pulling weed manually.
Export goes into non-tropical areas only and is limited to the delicatessen market and baby food.
The SECA RICA has managed to secure cultivation areas of “Big Mike” for the production phase I of 600 t/a of raw material, which equates to 60 t/a of finished product. The cultivation areas lie directly “at the company gates”, so not only will transportation costs be saved on, but also eventual transportation damage will be minimised.
The final product is packed into Alu-Big-Bag-Packages on site and can be shipped quickly to the local port.
Potential further products in productions:
However, it is initially planned to focus on the banana and avoid constant product changes, as is usual with other competitors. This saves complex cleaning processes and drastically increases system availability.