Bananas are the fourth most important food crop in the world, (following rice, corn and wheat), but they are not often associated with New Zealand.

Trevor Mills is hoping to change that by co-ordinating the introduction of a commercial banana growing industry in the East Coast and Wairoa areas through the company Tai Pukenga.

New Zealand imports more than $220 million worth of bananas from the Philippines and Ecuador says Mills, who reckons if the industry took off in New Zealand, "import substitution makes good economic sense."

If bananas ever want a climate to grow well, I think we've got it

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The company Mills is involved with not only deals with bananas. Tai Pukenga is also into its third season of growing hemp in the region and supplies seeds to the local craft brewery. As a result, Sunshine Brewery has a big hit on its hands with hemp beer.

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In today's interview on The Country - Trevor tells Jamie Mackay about the many uses for and products made from hemp.

Have you got an interesting rural story for The Country? Send Jamie an email at jamie@thecountry.co.nz
Listen below: