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A banana a day?

Published:Thursday | March 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Jeffrey Hall (right), managing director of Jamaica Producers Group (JP), gives Olympic and World champion sprinters Shelly-Ann Fraser (left) and Asafa Powell (second left) a bunch of ripe bananas, his company's main produce. Looking on are (from left) Rolf Simmonds, commercial director of JP Tropical Foods; Charles Johnston, chairman of JP; and Professor Rosalea Hamilton, vice-president of the University of Technology (UTech). The occasion was the launch of Jamaica's first fresh-produce campaign at UTech, St Andrew, yesterday.- Rudolph Brown/Photographer

Jamaica Producers, UTech join forces to promote benefits of the yellow fruit

Laura Redpath, Senior Staff Reporter

ONE OF Jamaica's top sprinters, Asafa Powell, says if he knew a banana could cure a hangover, there are many mornings he would have been better off for having had the fruit.

Powell was speaking at yesterday's launch of Jamaica's first fresh-produce campaign, 'Peel the Benefits', at Lillian's Restaurant on the University of Technology (UTech) campus in St Andrew.

General manager of Jamaica Producers (JP) Tropical Foods, David Martin, let on that a banana milkshake "sweetened with honey" would soothe and rehydrate the body after a night of boozing.

Olympian Shelly-Ann Fraser laughed and said, "I'm not a big drinker, so that wouldn't affect me."

Under 'Peel the Benefits', JP and UTech are encouraging Jamaicans to eat fresh produce, more specifi-cally, ripe bananas.

Proceeds for education

Through the campaign, part proceeds from JP's banana sales will help support a UTech scholar-ship fund.

"This collaboration has been long in coming, and I'm really happy that today, the launch of the initiative has truly come to fruition," said Professor Rosalea Hamilton, vice-president of development at UTech.

The ripe banana is known for its health benefits, including fighting depression, ulcers and the urge to smoke.

"I eat a banana after working out and it's a great way to start off the day," Fraser said, clutching a small hand of ripe bananas to her chest.

According to Hamilton, the university has, over the years, been able to fund scholarships for an average 22 per cent of applicants. She said UTech needs an additional $166 million to help with the yearly demand for funding.

"The need for financial support far outstrips the university's capacity to provide financial aid," Hamilton said.