The popocho is a variety of plantain that grows in Chocó area and represents a traditional food staple that is very important for the local people’s daily diet. It is also known as pancho, cuatro filo, canaleado, and cuadrado. This plantain stands out from other varieties for its dimensions, between 15 and 25 cm. long and six to eight cm. in diameter, and for its green skin with grey veins.
The pulp has a soft consistency and a pale grey color. It is generally cultivated in local orchards with good humidity, alongside other fruits and vegetables. The production is abundant throughout the year, though it excels from May to August, and as such it is easy to find both in markets and in farmyards. Thanks to its soft consistency, the popocho plantain is versatile, adapting to several different cultivation techniques. This fruit can be prepared baked, fried or stewed, and when it is very ripe it can also be used in quiches and rolls. Popochos are also commonly used to make flour with which soups and dumplings are prepared. This product is not very expensive compared to other varieties, which is why it represents one of the most consumed fruits by the majority of local families. In addition, its cultural ties with local traditions are incredibly strong.
Plantains came to South America with the arrival of Africans. It is likely that the Popocho variety developed in this area and then became an integral part of both the local diet and culture, thanks to its specific chemical characteristics and its need for a humid climate to grow in. Popocho plantains are cultivated for the most part in the area around Quibdó, but it is also consumed in a large swath of the nearby territory. Thanks to this fruit’s recognized nutritional values and low costs, its production has been encouraged both locally and nationally. The total monthly production around the entire region could amount to two tons of fruit. It is cultivated both privately, in local orchards around homes, and in larger commercial orchards. Popocho plantains are sold both locally and further away from the orchards where they are grown.