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A Fungus Is On Its Way to Destroy the World’s Bananas

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Posted on Apr 16, 2014

    The beloved yellow fruit is under attack. Charles Roffey (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A disease called Fusarium, which is known as the “HIV of banana plantations,” is doing horrific things to the crop in Asia and Africa. The United Nations has issued a warning stating the disease is spreading and may reach Latin America next. This is terrible news not just because 70 percent of the world’s bananas grow there, but also because, as Salon’s Lindsay Abrams points out, “Bananas are a key source of food in many tropical countries.”

Salon:

“The spread of Fusarium wilt could have a significant impact on growers, traders and families who depend on the banana industry,” [U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)] plant pathologist Fazil Dusunceli said in statement. “Countries need to act now if we are to avoid the worst-case scenario, which is massive destruction of much of the world’s banana crop.”

Like so many diseases, the best way to address it is to prevent its spread. To that end, the FAO is calling for “a concerted effort … from stakeholders including the industry, research institutions, governments and international organizations” to monitor and contain it.

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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