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The Rise and Fall of the Banana: Will the current main export cultivar, the Cavendish, be replaced by 2035?

Bananas are a well-liked import fruit all over the world, and the Cavendish cultivar has been crushing that market for sixty years. But its rise is literally founded upon the compost heap of the Gros Michel, another cultivar. The so-called “Big Mike” variety had been the leading export towards Europe and North America, but the Panama disease, a fungus belonging to the Fusarium clade, killed that. Luckily the Cavendish, grown in the same soil as the wilting Gros Michel, replaced it as the banana most of the western world connected with bananas.

However, it appears another Fusarium rears its spores. Cavendish, with their genetic homogenity (they’re all clones) and sterile nature, aren’t resistant to it, and the fungus is ravaging more and more plantations.

There are efforts under way to deal with Fusarium, but with various societies’ doubts and misgivings about GMOs, the cure may be viewed as a curse instead.

Will the Cavendish account for less than 50% of banana exports worldwide by 2035?

Resolution is negative if Cavendish accounts for more than 50% of worldwide banana exports every year between now and 2035, and positive otherwise.


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