Our favorite pre-workout snacks, Banana is facing an existential crisis and scientists are unable to find a solution. The antagonist of this story is an evil fungus that has made its way from Asia to Australia and now Latin America.
The TR4 fungus has traveled to Latin America and it is capable of wiping out the banana crops completely from the heart of the global banana export market.
- The Tropical Race 4 is a Fusarium oxysporum strained fungus. It has destroyed banana plantation in Southeast Asia for 30 years.
- The fungus has reached the heart of the global banana export market, Latin America as confirmed by the Colombian Agricultural Institute.
- This deadly fungus is very hard to get rid off. It can stay in the soil for years infecting the banana plants by starving them of nourishment.
- Now, the Latin Americans are worrying about the spread of this fungus in their land. Some are even calling this situation apocalyptic.
- In 1997, TR4 was detected in Australia’s Northern Territory, but vigorous quarantine efforts couldn’t prevent the pathogen from spreading to north Queensland in 2015.
- The fungus is not the only one presenting a challenge. Similarly, a devastating and costly fungal leaf disease, Black Sigatoka is also a major cause of concern.
- Most importantly, Latin America has concentrated on the Cavendish bananas which are not at all immune to this fungus. And they may lose the banana crops altogether.
- However, a possible solution is to start cropping a hybrid of Cavendish bananas. But, a significant result may take more time than expected.
- Meanwhile, experts are criticizing the practice of growing only Cavendish banana crop. And the dependence on one crop is the reason for such a high scale tension.
- Growing more than one crop or variety can be a sustainable solution. But it requires a large scale restructuring of the whole system.