Panama disease threatens world's bananas

05 November 2013
Panama disease threatens world's bananas

A disease that threatens major banana producers is spreading, according to scientists.

In the 1950s a deadly strain of the Fusarium fungus known as Panama disease wiped out almost all banana plantations in Central and South America. And in the 1990s a new strain appeared and began to spread. Originating in Taiwan, it soon reached mainland China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia.

Together with a number of partners, scientists from Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands have shown that the disease has also spread to Jordan.
With the disease increasingly widespread and threatening major banana-producing countries, the Wageningen researchers are calling for a concerted international approach to safeguard the food security of millions of people.

The results of the study were published in the scientific journal Plant Disease.

Bananas are cultivated on around 1,000 to 1,500 hectares of land in Jordan but 80% of the plantations are now infected.

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