After Barren Years in Somalia, Signs of Growth in Bananas
(Medeshi)- AFGOOYE, Somalia — Armed with machetes, the men push their way through the densely packed rows of trees, emerging every few minutes with large bundles of green bananas over their shoulders. A guard, his chest crossed with bullet belts, his hands cradling a Russian-made rifle, scans the tree line for intruders as the men throw the bananas on a trailer before dashing back into the plantation for another load. When the trailer is piled high with bananas, it is pulled by tractor to a nearby warehouse, where the fruit is sorted and boxed for transport to destinations across Somalia and as far away as the Middle East. After years of warfare that decimated an industry that was once the largest in Africa, the banana is making a tentative comeback in Somalia. Farms are stepping up production and eyeing overseas markets that have been dormant for years.
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