Is Iceland Europe’s largest banana producer?
Iceland has largest banana plantation in Europe. They use geothermal energy to heat greenhouses allowing for the production of tropical fruits like bananas and strawberrys year round.
Despite the fact that Iceland’s climate is not ideal for growing bananas, Iceland arguably has Europe‘s largest banana plantation.
Located in a greenhouse, in the village of Reykir (South Iceland), the Icelandic banana production is managed by the Icelandic Agricultural University.
The annual harvest is admittedly quite low, only 500-2,000 kg of bananas annually.
Bananas were first produced in Iceland in 1941. Using cheap geothermal energy to heat the greenhouses and cheap electricity to provide illumination during the darkest months.This made it possible to grow bananas in the middle of the North Atlantic.
Reasons such as duties on imported foodstuffs and fruit meant the Icelandic bananas were competitive priced and Icelanders consumed domestically produced bananas until the late 1950s. Since 1959.
Now however, all bananas sold in stores have been imported.
The claim that Iceland has the largest banana plantation in Europe has been disputed by fact checkers. Due to it being an interesting story it has survived any attempts at correction.
One of the arguments used by the “pro-Iceland as Europe’s largest banana producer camp” is that Spain, the largest European banana producer, actually grows bananas on the Canary Islands, which are part of Africa, rather than Europe, making those bananas African, rather than European bananas…
The banana plantation in Reykir is operated by the Icelandic Agricultural University which has been growing bananas at its research station in Reykir since the 1950s.
The bananas have remained completely isolated since then, safe from contact with plant diseases, including the Panama Disease which is currently decimating the world’s banana plantations. Many fear the disease, caused by a fungus, could wipe out the Cavendish banana, which is the most common type of banana consumed today.