Rises in the price of bananas in Mauritius are to be anticipated after banana trees are said to have been attacked by the Mealy Bug, which is a parasite feeding on fruit sap. Hence, the total banana stock will most likely be reduced. Bananas are being sold as from Rs 2.50 to Rs 3 per unit for now. The price could increase by up to Rs 2 more per fruit.
The Mealy Bug is an insect that has been causing trouble in many Mauritian gardens since a while now. It has the potential to attack many other fruits like mango and pawpaw. The parasite causes green bananas to darken even before they are ripe. Mostly, it is the North and East regions of Mauritius that have had to bear the brunt of the parasite invasion. Let us not forget that in some days, the Hindu population of the island will be celebrating the Maha Shivaratree, a festival whereby this fruit is in much demand for offerings.
To counter the problem, the Ministry of Agro-Industry has stated that another parasite has been released; one which parasites upon the Mealy Bug. This initiative was taken from last year itself, when the bug made its appearance on the island.
The shortage of bananas will, however, be countered by an abundance of coconut, which is also used for the Hindu festival. The fruit importing company, SKC Surat, has already imported 50 tons of coconut from India and Sri Lanka. At least, coconut will be readily available and, that too, at an affordable price.