The banana as you currently know it could soon be extinct.
The Cavendish banana is the type of banana that’s sold in stores worldwide. It’s pretty much the only species of banana exported in the world, but now it’s under attack. The Tropical Race 4 is a disease caused by the fungus, Fusarium, that infects the plant by preventing it from picking up water.
Since it broke out in South-east Asia in 1990, TP4 has crossed thousands of miles of open ocean all the way to Australia and as of 2013, Africa. The disease is currently killing crops all over the continent, which is detrimental to both the local and global economies.
Why should we care?
The Cavendish banana is a monoculture. Without getting too scientific, this means that the bananas you buy in stores are all clones of each other. They have no genetic diversity, which means they are a weak species that’s susceptible to disease. Without any diversity, the Cavendish banana could be extinct sooner than later.
Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it. The food industry has allowed it to get this bad and now people have to live with the consequences. The worst part of all is that if bananas die, the world will be deprived of all the amazing banana commercials.
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