Could bananas disappear?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, bananas rank eighth among the world’s food crops. Cavendish bananas remain the most popu- lar; almost 50 per cent of all bananas eaten around the globe are derived from this cultivar. Unfortunately, its growth has been slowed by Panama disease, also known as fusarium wilt. Fusarium is a soil-borne fun-
longer where, but rather when this disease will spread to Latin America, the last uncon- taminated stronghold. Because of this situation, increased monitor- ing and controls — including the establish- ment of quarantine zones — is one solution being considered to slow down the epidemic. Another option is to just produce new culti- vars, but that would take many years of work. Moreover, would these new cultivars meet consumer expectations? Could they
According to the FAO, $7 billion is at stake. If this challenge is not met, the situation may become so serious that in the coming deca-
des, the only way to enjoy a good banana will be to go and eat one in a producing country.
What you should know about soil erosion
Agricultural erosion, dened as the move- ment of soil from one place to another, is caused by three main factors: wind, water and mechanized tillage. Unsuitable tillage methods can speed up erosion, moving arable soil down slopes into ditches, streams and tile drains. In addition to a decline in crop yields, this also results in nutrients, pesticides, toxins and pathogens being removed from elds because of soil erosion, which is another major environmental concern. Geographical location is also a major factor where erosion is concerned. For example, California, which receives dry winds from the Pacic, is more susceptible to wind
erosion, while southwestern Ontario, near the Great Lakes, may be classied as a high-risk area for water soil erosion. Farmers must learn to adapt their farming methods no matter what type of erosion is involved. Including forage in crop rota- tions, sowing a winter ground cover, culti- vating across slopes, companion planting, reducing tillage with shallower direct seed- ing, planting windbreaks around elds and leaving crop residues in place are just some of the possible solutions. Even though the subject has been documented for decades, the issue is a hot topic once again because of climate change and the new conditions it brings.
gus that remains active for up to 30 years and kills banana plants fairly quickly. Fruit produc- tion is greatly reduced but is not
be trans- p o r t e d efficiently? Would pro- d u c t i o n
inedible. e only k n o w n prevent- ive measure is to eliminate the plant and its shoots. Asia, Africa and the Middle East are already a ected by this disease. us, the question is no
l e v e l s m a t c h or even
beat previ- ous levels?
Would they have a similar taste to the product currently in demand?
B I Michel Robinson, propriétaire
• HANGING BASKETS • VEGETABLE PLANTS • HERBS & SPICES • FLOWERS • GERANIUMS
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