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Will a US consumer be unable to purchase a Cavendish banana at a major US grocery chain on 2029-12-31?

In 1965, the Gros Michel Banana was declared "commercially extinct", owing to a world-wide outbreak of Fusarium Wilt (or Panama Disease). Fusarium, a deadly fungus, had devastated commercial plantations worldwide. In spite of its greater vulnerability to rough handling, Commercial growers replaced the Gros Michel with the Cavendish Banana because of its robustness to Fusarium infection.

Then, in the early 1990's, a new strain of Fusarium (called Tropical Race 4, or TR4) was discovered killing off Cavendish trees in plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. Later studies confirmed that Cavendish trees are highly susceptible to TR4 infection. In 2003, the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain predicted that the Cavendish could face extinction within 10 years. Obviously that hasn't happened yet. However, in August 2019, TR4 was found killing off Cavendish trees in Colombian Plantations, prompting the Colombian Government to declare a state of emergency.

Hope remains that a genetically modified Cavendish can be developed to maintain global banana supply. Others hope that another natural type of banana can be identified to replace the Cavendish.

Will a US consumer be unable to purchase a Cavendish banana at a major US grocery chain on 2029-12-31?

A few fine points:

  • This question resolves positively Cavendish bananas are unavailable on on 2029-12-31.
  • The question resolves negatively if Cavendish bananas are still available (regardless of whether they're genetically modified or not).
  • This question will be resolved on 2029-12-31. Interruptions to the global banana supply prior to that date will not trigger an early positive resolution.
  • "Available" means that such bananas can be purchased from an ordinary grocery store (e.g. Wal-mart, Kroger, etc.). Niche markets (e.g. specialist fruit wholesalers, non-franchise farmer's markets, or stores which might carry Gros Michel bananas in 2019) will not be sufficient for a positive resolution.


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