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Under the peel

Under the peel is the blog of the ProMusa community. The views expressed are those of the authors. Non-registered users can post comments, but only registered ones can post blog items. When logged in, click on the pencil+ icon to start a post. We welcome contributions in French or Spanish. If you need help, contact the InfoMus@ editor at infomusa@promusa.org.

Banana scientists gather in Brazil for the fourth ISHS-ProMusa symposium

Inge Van den Bergh Wednesday, 02 November 2011

The first ISHS-ProMusa symposium ended with Richard Markham, then chair of the ISHS Section on Banana and Plantain, reminding participants “of our limited success over the past 20 years in providing workable solutions to the major crop protection problems of farmers”. We all know what these are: leaf spot diseases, Fusarium wilt, bacterial wilts, viruses, nematodes and weevils. This fourth symposium, hosted by Embrapa, similarly provided sobering accounts of the challenges scientists still face in addressing these problems. And rightly so. We should not underestimate the scale of the task at hand. But symposia also play a non-negligible role in lifting our spirits by reminding us that the steady progress of science is also punctuated by the occasional leap.

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University of Hawaii student farm bananas

Gabriel Sachter-Smith Thursday, 11 August 2011

A while ago I had written about the banana collection at the student farm program I help run here at the University of Hawaii. We have been working very hard and have some new updates I'd like to share.

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BARNESA and MUSALAC consolidate their representation in ProMusa

Inge Van den Bergh Tuesday, 19 July 2011

During their regional network meeting in April in Burundi, the steering committee members of the Banana Research Network for East and Southern Africa (BARNESA) nominated Svetlana Gaidashova to be the BARNESA representative on the ProMusa steering committee.

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Proceedings of second joint ISHS-ProMusa symposium available

Karen Lehrer Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The presentations made during the ISHS-ProMusa symposium ‘Global perspectives on Asian challenges’ held in Guangzhou, China in September 2009 have been published as a volume of Acta Horticulturae.

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Changes in the ProMusa Steering Committee

Inge Van den Bergh Tuesday, 08 March 2011

The Banana Asia-Pacific network (BAPNET) is the first network to have chosen who will represent them on the ProMusa Steering Committee. In January, the BAPNET Steering Committee unanimously elected Gus Molina, the Asia-Pacific regional coordinator for Bioversity International’s Commodities for Livelihoods programme. He had been acting as the network’s representative since their admission to the Steering Committee last May.

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Food or cash? The dilemma of African farmers

Alistair Smith Monday, 15 November 2010

Until now, Africa has been a relatively minor player in world banana trade: Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana accounted for around 4% of the trade in 2007 (FAOSTAT export data). Both Angola and Mozambique will join the nations that export their fruit to Europe, with major joint venture investments by the US-based Chiquita Brands. Dole, the world's biggest fruit company, is also reported to be looking for partners in Angola, having recently invested in a large plantation in Ghana through its part-ownership of Compagnie Fruitière. Cameroon regularly states that it intends to increase its exports.

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Second ProMusa Crop Production Working Group meeting

Inge Van den Bergh Monday, 01 November 2010
The ProMusa Crop Production Working Group held its second working group meeting in Mombasa, Kenya on October 10, back-to-back with the International Banana Conference. Over 30 members gathered to elaborate on the working group objectives as they were defined during the first working group meeting in South Africa in September 2007. These three objectives are: (1) basic research in areas not addressed by the two other ProMusa working groups, (2) integration of research results from the three ProMusa working groups, and (3) effective delivery of results of research to end-users.
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The ISHS section on banana and plantain elects a new chair and vice-chair

Inge Van den Bergh Friday, 01 October 2010

Stephan Weise and Jim Lorenzen have been elected as the new chair and vice-chair of the ISHS banana and plantain section. At the next ISHS congress, in August 2010, the newly elected chair and vice-chair will take over from Richard Markham and Victor Galán Saucó, who had been appointed as interim chairpersons when the section was created in 2006.

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ProMusa newsletters 1998-2003

Karen Lehrer Wednesday, 08 September 2010
List of ProMusa newsletters published between 1998 and 2003.
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About Hill banana (AAB, Virupakshi and Sirumalai) and BBTV in Tamil Nadu, India

Elayabalan Sivalingam Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Hill bananas (AAB, two ecotypes Virupakshi and Sirumalai) are grown at a height of 2000 to 5000 feet with well distributed annual rainfall of 1250-1500 mm in the lower Palaini, Sirumalai and Kolli hills. Hill bananas, unique to the state of Tamil Nadu, are known for their special flavour and long shelf life. Hill bananas are perennial in nature, cultivated along with coffee and pepper also as a multitier system. Hill bananas are highly susceptible to Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV). BBTV has been the sole cause for reduction in Hill banana cultivation from 18,000 ha in 1970s to a mere 2,000 ha at present.

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Searching for resistance to Fusarium tropical race 4 in African cultivars

Inge Van den Bergh Sunday, 02 May 2010

A new project, based on a recommendation made at the latest ISHS/ProMusa Symposium, will help predict the impact of the dreaded Fusarium strain on banana production in Africa.

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ProMusa welcomes regional partners

Inge Van den Bergh Saturday, 01 May 2010

To reinforce its role in guiding research priorities, ensuring better linkages between growers and scientists, as well as facilitating the dissemination and uptake of results and knowledge, the ProMusa Steering Committee has created a seat for each of the banana regional R&D networks, representing stakeholders from banana-producing regions: BAPNET in Asia and the Pacific, BARNESA in eastern and southern Africa and MUSALAC in Latin America and the Caribbean. The MUSACO network for West and Central Africa is being restructured as an innovation platform on plantains managed by WECARD and CARBAP, with technical backstopping from Bioversity International, IITA, CIRAD and FAO.

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Three-way approach to tackle drought stress

Anne Vézina Wednesday, 03 March 2010

Members of the ProMusa network have joined forces to take on the challenge posed by banana streak viruses (BSV). DNA sequences of these badnaviruses are integrated in the B genome donated by the wild species Musa balbisiana. The ability of some of the sequences to form infective particles has led to restrictions on the distribution and use of B-genome-rich cultivars. Certain institutions have even stopped using cultivars containing the B genome in their breeding schemes. But if these cultivars are anything like their balbisiana ancestor, they could be more tolerant to drought than cultivars derived only from Musa acuminata, which donated the A genome, and as such play an important role in safeguarding future banana production against the effects of climate change.

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Student farm at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

Gabriel Sachter-Smith Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Greetings everyone! I thought I'd share here a modified version of an article I've written for a local newsletter about the student farm I help to run.

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Rethinking the price of bananas

Alistair Smith Thursday, 07 January 2010

One of the most basic roles of a permanent World Banana Forum that is focused on a transition to a sustainable banana economy could be to rethink the whole question of price.

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