In a bid to revive the drooping fortunes of the banana worldwide, Thai producers and the Agriculture Ministry are focusing on the functional properties of the fruit and its biyproducts, hoping to encourage consumers to buy more with news of the medicinal value and other uses to be derived from the fruit.

The Banana Club is hoping to boost consumer interest by drawing attention to the 80 varieties of banana native to Thailand, many of which have traditionally been used for medicinal or healing purposes. The four of five imported varieties that remain on the market are bigger and brighter yellow than their Thai cousins, largely because they sell better, but the club's members hope that by collecting the less attractive varieties and researching their individual benefits, people will be encouraged to buy less on the back of aesthetics and more because of local superiority.

Of the native varieties, it is already known that some bananas may be used for cooking flour, wine and medicines, while the tree itself can be used to produce clothes. With the help of the plantations controlled by the Ministry of Agriculture and the land set aside for the project by the Royal Thai Army, however, the club hopes to find even more assets to the fruit.