Scientists are worried that the world’s banana crop is facing extinction. A disease called Black Sigatoka (which blackens leaves and halves yields) has shown alarming signs that it has grown resistant to fungicides – forcing growers to increase the dosages being sprayed. To make matters worse, Foc Tropical Race 4, a strain of Panama disease that attacks the Cavendish (the world’s most widely exported banana variety) has hit a variety of countries across the globe. Central and South America, where the majority of the world’s bananas come from, has so far escaped the disease but Gert Kema, a plant pathologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, warns ‘It’s not a question of whether it will occur there,’’ but instead, ‘’It’s a question of when.’’ The challenge now is to find a banana that is resistant to both diseases while remaining commercially viable. It’s not only Natural Scientists and Biologists who should be interested in these events. There are financial implications for Economists, while anyone partial to the world’s favourite fruit should keep their eyes peeled for further developments.
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