Enjoy bananas while you can, because they might soon be a thing of the past. There is a deadly fungus that has gone from southeast Asia to Latin America, which is the heart of the global banana export market.
As Wired explains, “The Columbian Agricultural Institute announced that it has confirmed that the fungus – a strain of Fusarium oxysporum called Tropical Race 4 (TR4) – has been found in plantations in the north of the country. The country declared a national state of emergency, destroying crops and quarantining plantations in an attempt to avert the spread of the fungus.”
A similar situation occurred with the Gros Michel banana in Latin America before the 1950s. The type currently being affected now are Cavendish bananas.
The TR4 fungus has been found in other countries, including Lebanon, Australia, Israel, and India.
The fungus can easily spread, and it can cause issues for years to come. “Once present in soil, it can stay dormant for years before infecting banana plants through their roots, spreading to the water and nutrient-conducting tissue and starving them of nourishment.”