Once the ash lands on the bananas, it is almost impossible to remove.
And it causes further damage in the handling, transport and packing, with the huge bunches, which are known as “pineapples” and can weigh up to 70 kilos (150 pounds), carried on the shoulders.
“You have to blast it off with water or something — to be honest, I don’t know how to do it,” said Sanchez, 60, who owns a small plantation. “When the dew forms overnight, it really makes the grit stick, and in the morning it just won’t come off.”
Can’t be sold
The skin blackens in the form of a scratch but nothing like the brownish-black markings that show the fruit is ripe.
And although the banana is perfect, it is rejected and cannot be sold.
“European quality regulations ban the sale of bananas with more than four square centimeters of scratches per fruit, even if they are perfect inside and can be eaten without risk,” said Esther Dominguez of ASPROCAN, which represents banana producers in the Canary Islands.
The volcano’s eruption has predominantly hurt the Aridane valley on the western flank of La Palma, although the problem caused by volcanic ash and grit has affected a much wider area.
— Read on www.voanews.com/a/volcanic-grit-water-shortage-threaten-la-palma-s-banana-crop/6263865.html