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Banana Drama, A National Emergency Declared From Banana Infestations

There is a concerning situation that will likely affect our banana supply here in the US and will rise not only the price but availability of this precious fruit we take for granted. The situation is so severe that Costa Rica has declared a National Emergency” from banana infestations. Recently two separate “plagues” have severely damaged banana crops, first the mealy bug infestation, then a scale bug infestation causing as much as 20% of the total banana yield to be disposed of and wasted.

banana shortage and disease

Photo:By Renee Comet (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What Would A Banana Infestation Do To Our Supply?

Costa Rican bananas are a staple in our diets, both Dole and Chiquita have operations in the tiny tropical paradise where bananas are a half billion dollar industry on average.

Dole supplies 34% of all bananas in the United States and 32% of bananas in Japan.

The real banana drama occurring now relates to a “banana eating fungus”, that is currently attacking crops all over the world. This is not a natural disaster according to scientists in their recent reports to Scientific American.

“I can tell you with near certainty that climate change is behind these pests,” stated Magda Gonzales, Costa Rica’s director of agriculture, State Phytosanitary Services (SFE).

Scientists had previously believed the disease, caused by a fungus of a specific strain called Foc-TR4, was isolated to areas of Asia and Australia, but now have reported finding it in other areas (Jordan and Mozambique) along with a brand new strain.

Like good and bad news both spread, scientists fear that it is only a short amount of time before we can expect to find this disease in Latin America or the Caribbean, which would virtually decimate bananas.

A Banana-demic?

80% of the bananas in America come from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Since bananas (and other certain fruits) grow in a specific tropical climate they are important parts of the local diet. According to “Banana Link” as little as 20% of bananas that are grown in these ideal climate locations are actually exported.

That’s Banana’s, Strange Banana Facts

  • A banana tree is not actually a tree, it is an herb.

  • Banana peels have many uses such as skin calming properties for rashes and eczema, polish your shoes or get rid of aphids and help your roses by tossing them by the root base.

  • The Brits eat 5 billion bananas a year, the average person eats 100 bananas per year (in the US we eat an average of 28 lbs per year).

  • Bananas are grown year round and 96% of Americans buy bananas at least once a month.

  • Containing vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, tryptophan (for good mood) and having no fat, sodium or cholesterol, they are considered America’s #1 fruit.

  • There is such thing a banana beer, in case you were wondering. Below is a YouTube video on making banana Amber beer, uploaded by Carlos Guerrero.



About Tonya O'Dell