New strain of fungus may hurt Belize banana prospects
Friday, 26 May 2006
A new strain of fungus tied to the dreaded Panama Disease has been decimating Cavendish banana plantations in Asia- Indonesia, Taiwan and the southern provinces of China and Malaysia.
The new variant, known as TR 4, has not reached the main exporting countries in Africa or Latin America.
However, the disease is spreading quickly and experts believe it is only a matter of time before it reaches the Western Hemisphere.
Like the other banana producing countries, Belize produces Cavendish bananas, which were believed to be resistant to the Panama Disease.Recent developments in Asia have shown this is not so.
During the 1950s Europeans ate a different banana, the Gros Michel. But the Panama disease wiped out the Gros Michel plantations all over the world and the Cavendish banana took its place.
Although the Cavendish is now under attack and could disappear, experts have a bunch of alternative bananas they can introduce.
They may not have the same text and texture, but they will be very good bananas.