There is a tendency of using unknown chemicals in ripening fruits in Mulanje and other surrounding area that puts people's lives at risk. Almost all fruits, especially bananas, are soaked into these colourless chemical to reduce the normal time it takes to ripe. Bananas take two days to ripe.
I have talked to several people who use and some who sell these chemicals and have confessed that they are making money out of this because they time of waiting for the fruits to ripe is reduced. They all agreed that they are not sure of the side effects the chemicals have on people.
An effort to establish the real name of the chemicals proved futile as most people don't know. But it was established that they are smuggled out of tea estates where they are used to control pests. They are then diluted and locally packed in plastic tubes for sale in roadsides.
Some consumers have complained that thes chemicals might affect them because fruits are consumed in large numbers. I have talked to Agriculture and Health Officials which admited knowledge of this problem but were not able to tell me what is being done to deal with this.
Apart from bananas, pineapples are another fruit that this chemical is used to ripen. Keep this in mind when you buy fruits at Minimini or Limbuli market.