Monday, June 8, 2015

The banana crisis continues

You know those nice yellow bunches of bananas you see in every supermarket around the U.S. (and likely in many foreign nations)?

Well, this particular kind of banana does not have a great upside for the future.  An unstoppable plant fungus will probably wipe out this variety.

There might be no saving the world's top banana

I found this interesting:

"To make money on exports, growers had to rely on a single variety to ensure uniformity and keep production costs low. Until the 1960s, that was the Gros Michel, which all but disappeared after a decades- long spread of what came to be known as Panama disease.
"Losing breeds can be costly. When Gros Michel was killed off, the Cavendish proved immune to the fungus strain, though the bananas were smaller, less hardy and not as tasty, Koeppel said by phone from Los Angeles. It allowed the industry to recover, but the new variety required shipping in smaller boxes rather than big containers, he said. It took years to convert operations from farms to retailers."

That made me wonder how good the Gros Michel banana actually tasted!  Well, in a few years we may have to find out how a different variety of banana tastes - if the banana industry can find one that tastes decent.    Because the article also says:  "While there are more than 1,000 types of bananas, many are consumed where they are grown or are inedible."

That's not good.  Hopefully the disease can be kept out of Latin America for a couple more decades, or some kind of treatment can be found.  After all, this is the era of agricultural science.  They just need to breed.

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