Yes, we have no banana statistics

My … hope is that people will eventually stop saying ‘bananas and plantains’. For one thing, it only makes sense is if the meaning of ‘banana’ is restricted to dessert bananas and the meaning of ‘plantain’ extended to all cooking bananas.

This, as you might imagine, is music to my ears. We’ve searched in vain, and often, and fruitlessly 1 for some kind of shibboleth to distinguish banana from plantain. There isn’t one. So to have the ProMusa blog standing up to be counted, again, is definitely something to welcome. And that’s not all.

In addition to taking aim at terminological inexactitude, our colleague-in-arms Anne Vezina, the blogger in question, also has a go at numerical fudge, with an attack on the “mythical fourth place ranking” of bananas on some ill-defined metric of global importance. Digging deep into FAOSTAT, she concludes:

Depending on the indicator and the year, bananas usually end up somewhere between the 8th and 10th position after discarding animal products and non-food crop commodities (adding plantains doesn’t change the ranking). But if instead of including all the banana-producing countries, only the least developed ones are considered, adding the values for plantains and bananas moves the duo up to fourth place, behind rice, cassava (instead of wheat) and maize.

The facts have spoken. Will anybody listen?

  1. You see what I did there? []

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