New disease threatening global banana industry

New disease threatening global banana industry

A new study has found a strain of disease is threatening the global banana industry.

The study published in PLOS Pathogens found the disease called Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4) is sweeping parts of the globe, decimating banana plantations and hurting livelihoods.

The popular Cavendish variety, which is the world’s largest banana crop, is highly susceptible. Some experts say the international banana industry faces annihilation if the disease continues to spread.

The fungus has already spread through Asia, particularly China, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan, and more recently to Africa. It was found in north Queensland earlier this year, with Biosecurity Queensland springing into action to limit its spread.

Attention is now firmly focused on Central and Latin America, which supplies 82 per cent of the world’s bananas.

The researchers warn that the strain will eventually make its way to Latin America, where the vast majority of the world’s banana exports are still grown.


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