How the banana came to Alanya

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Boats departed from Alanya with the course set for places like Egypt and Cyprus. The holds were filled with wood, sesame seeds, beans and different kinds of nuts and fruits. On the way back they had been traded for salt, soap, oil and decorative items from far away countries.
It was from such a journey to Egypt that the merchant Serifali Ahmet Aga brought a banana plant back to Alanya and planted it in his backyard.
When the banana plant started to produce bananas he instructed his family not to eat the bananas since they were likely to be poisoned.
After a while the ripened bananas fell to the ground and were soon eaten by ants and other insects. The family housekeeper saw this and realised that the bananas were not poisoned at all. She decided to taste one of these new fruits. The housekeeper liked it a lot and told others about it.
Thus the myth of the poisoned banana plant came to an end and soon the growing of bananas started in Alanya. Around 1920 the demand started to rise and the number of fields increased dramatically.
The growing of bananas in Turkey is concentrated in a 200 km long belt running along the Mediterranean coast from Manavgat through Alanya to Anamur.
This belt is the only place in Turkey with the right climatic conditions for growing the plant. The banana is an incredibly fragile plant that requires a lot of water and a mild climate. When winter is approaching and the weather becomes unstable, plastic sheeting is put around the bananas to protect them. It is possible to harvest bananas twice every year and one banana plant can yield up to 75 kilos of bananas per harvest.
Each year 40,000 tons of bananas are produced in Turkey. This is not enough even to cover the demand on the domestic market.

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