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Mediawatch

Links to online news on bananas

Xanthomonas wilt project recognized

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) has given its 2012 Award for Best KARI Implemented Project to an effort mobilizing partnerships along banana value chains to mitigate the impact of Xanthomonas wilt and prevent resurgence of the disease in areas where it has been brought under control. The project is led by Bioversity International, in collaboration with KARI, the Ugandan National Agriculture Research Organization and other regional partners, and is funded by the McKnight Foundation.

Western Australia's recipe for sweet bananas

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Bananas in Western Australian take between 12 and 14 months to grow, a process that contributes to their sweeter taste, along with the arid climate which forces growers to bunch their plants closer together. The low pest pressure also helps growers keep inputs to a minimum, according to an article in Fresh Plaza.

First report of bunchy top in Benin

Tuesday, 02 October 2012

In July 2011, banana plants displaying symptoms typical of bunchy top were observed in Dangbo Commune, Ouémé Department, Benin. Until now, Cameroon was the western most frontier of Banana bunchy top virus presence in sub-Saharan Africa. The New Disease Report  underscores an urgent need for intensive surveys in neighbouring countries and implementation of strict phytosanitary measures to prevent movement of planting material from the infected zones and to prevent further spread of BBTV. 

Guadeloupe's efforts to contain black leaf streak

Tuesday, 02 October 2012

Following a report that black leaf streak had landed in Guadeloupe, the Martinique and Guadeloupe association of banana producers (UGPBAN) will be advising growers and plantation workers on deleafing measures that by keeping the inoculum level low should help reduce the use of fungicides. According to a radio clip (in French) done four months after the detection of the fungus, the spread of the disease has been very limited so far.

Caribbean’s challenge to control Black Sigatoka

Friday, 14 September 2012

Opinion piece on the importance of controlling black leaf streak to protect export revenues, by  Humberto Gómez, a technological innovation specialist at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (Trinidad and Tobago office).

Debunking the link between bananas and TNF

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A supporter of evidence-based medicine debunks the claim circulating on the Internet that high levels of tumor necrosis factor in ripe bananas can help prevent or cure cancer.

Visit to Sitio de Barreiras Frulticultura

Tuesday, 04 September 2012

Jeff Daniells reports on his visit to Sitio Barreiras Frulticultura, a privately owned Brazilian company, in an article for Australian Bananas Magazine.

Rainwater harvesting gives a boost to bananas

Friday, 31 August 2012

The introduction of rainwater harvesting on the leeward side of Mount Meru in Tanzania has allowed 500 farmers to start growing bananas. Small-scale farmers from the drought-stricken Arumeru District testify to the effectiveness of the technology.

Nutrient mining in East African banana fields

Tuesday, 07 August 2012

A study suggests that the unreplenished removal of soil nutrients by growing bananas could account for the diminishing yields observed during the study period. Measuring the organic and mineral content of soils, the researchers found low levels of important minerals. The little fertility left was mainly from topsoil organic matter. The study was conducted in four agro-ecological regions of Rwanda and south-western Uganda between 2007 and 2011.

FHIA's past and future bananas

Monday, 06 August 2012

FHIA's banana and plantain programme leader, Juan Fernando Aguilar, talks to Fresh Portal about FHIA-17 and on-going work to breed Cavendish using conventional methods.

Black leaf streak in Dominica

Monday, 06 August 2012
In response to the arrival on the Caribbean island of Dominica of the dreaded black leaf streak, the government has stepped up measures to contain the spread of the fungus to protect the industry.

Coffee-banana combo

Friday, 03 August 2012
Ongoing research in Uganda is showing that by intercropping coffee with banana, farmers are greatly increasing the total yield value of a single plot of land since the practice leaves the yield of the coffee crop virtually untouched, while providing extra food or income in the form of banana. There are trade-offs, however. Besides requiring larger inputs of labor and capital at the outset, the system removes larger quantities of nutrients from the soil. In the long-term, coffee can also out-compete banana.

The banana genome analysed

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Following the announcement that the banana genome had been sequenced, the Los Angeles Times published a series of article on the sequencing, genetic engineering and evolution of the banana, while an Australian researcher chipped in with her own analysis in The Conversation.

Fibre extraction technology

Saturday, 07 July 2012

Scientists at India's National Institute for Inter-disciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST) have developed an anaerobic process to extract fibre from a banana plant. The separated fibres are then cleaned and dried, while the organic wastes can be converted into biogas.

Gluten-free pasta from banana flour

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Researchers from Brazil developed and analysed a gluten-free pasta made from the flour of green bananas. The pasta could be an alternative for patients with celiac disease. The study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Fairtrade bananas and migrant workers

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

An article in The Guardian reveals that even though 60 per cent of banana production in the Dominican Republic is now certified organic and a quarter certified Fairtrade, the industry still relies heavily on a migrant workforce paid poverty wages, living in slums and with no legal status.

Australia's plant protection initiative

Monday, 30 April 2012

A team of scientists led by Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation is spearheading a $6 million Banana Plant Protection Programme. Instead of fighting pests and pathogens after they have become a major problem, researchers aim to keep banana plants healthy through resistant varieties and improved plant-protection systems.

The power of consumers

Monday, 23 April 2012
WBF

A staff of Altroconsumo, an Italian consumer organisation, blogs about her visit to banana plantations in Ecuador, where she attended the Second Conference of the World Banana Forum.

Landscape of the week

Monday, 02 April 2012

A blog on landscapes selected the Kuk Early Agricultural World Heritage Site as its landscape of the week. The site is one of the earliest known landscapes in the world where agriculture was practiced and the earliest evidence for the domestication of plants, including banana, in the Pacific region.

Matooke flour trailblazer

Monday, 02 April 2012

The East African has an article on one of Uganda’s most celebrated food technologists, Rev Dr Florence Muranga.  The founding director of the Presidential Initiative on Banana Industrial Development is famous for turning matooke (banana) into shelf-stable flours, thus preventing millions of tonnes of the crop from going to waste.