The World Banana Forum was launched last December at the headquarters of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome to provide a permanent space for stakeholders to discuss the challenges facing the banana industry.
After more than 16 years of at times heated debate, an agreement has finally been concluded between the European Union and Latin American banana suppliers regarding the EU trading regime for fresh dessert bananas.
Most experts agree that it’s only a matter of time before the Fusarium wilt strain known as tropical race 4 escapes from Asia and reaches Latin America and Africa. The recent development of a rapid and reliable diagnostic test that can be used on plant and soil samples should make it harder for the fungal strain to spread undetected.
Markku Hakkinen, a self-taught botanist who is now considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the taxonomy of Musa, received the HH Bloomer award given to an amateur naturalist for an important contribution to biological knowledge.
Once the mainstay of the export trade until Fusarium wilt made its cultivation in large-scale plantations impossible, Gros Michel has found a niche in Congolese man-made forests near the border with Angola.