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ProMusa blog

The ProMusa blog has been set up to encourage information sharing within the community. You can use it to share an interesting experience, talk about a recent field trip you made, a conference you attended, a book you read, or any banana-related topic. Non-registered users can post comments, but only registered ones can post blog items (see the instructions in Blogging made easy). We welcome contributions in French or Spanish.
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Published by Hans-Willem van der Waal on 15 Sep 2014

Sudan may seem an unlikely place for growing bananas, but as I explained in my presentation at last month’s ProMusa symposium it has a large potential for organic banana production.

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Published by Anne Vézina on 14 Aug 2014

One of the workshops to be held during the ISHS-ProMusa symposium will discuss the problem banana streak viruses (BSV) pose to the distribution of genebank material. It will pick up on a discussion started by Australian virologist Andrew Geering at the 2007 ISHS-ProMusa symposium. Geering argued that the distribution of germplasm should be guided by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), which states that it is the responsibility of the importing country, not of the exporter (in this case the ITC), to impose phytosanitary measures. In 2008, he reprised his arguments on the old ProMusa website. He was joined by Pierre-Yves Teycheney, a virologist at the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development CIRAD who argued against relaxing the guidelines. Their arguments are reproduced below.

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Published by Anne Vézina on 07 Aug 2014

Bananas have a reputation for being difficult to breed; a reputation that seemed richly deserved when after more than 60 years of trying, breeders had yet to release an improved banana hybrid. No wonder you used to be able to count the number of banana breeding programmes on the fingers of one hand. Nowadays, however, you would not have enough of two hands. According to a survey done for the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, at least 12 organizations have a banana breeding programme.

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Published by Anne Vézina on 22 May 2014

Bananas are unusual among major crops in that most of the types grown, either for export or local consumption, are farmer-selected varieties. Less well-known is the role played by islands in safeguarding cultivars that have all but disappeared elsewhere.

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Published by Anne Vézina on 18 Apr 2014

If we are to believe the news stories making the rounds of the media, the export banana is a metaphorical heartbeat away from extinction. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that a blogger saw a parallel between the Heartbleed security bug and Cavendish bananas.

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Published by Hans-Willem van der Waal on 02 Apr 2014

Last week, I participated in a discussion on what Fair Trade means for bananas. The meeting was organized by the worker-owned co-operative Equal Exchange and held at the Tufts School of Nutrition in downtown Boston, USA. The event started with a screening of Bananaland, Blood, Bullets and Poison. The movie set the scene and provided plenty of food for thought, even though it’s a bit far-fetched to attribute all the social problems and the violent history of Colombia to the banana industry alone. Nevertheless, it is clear that the banana has a troubled history, and in spite of efforts to address some issues, many remain.

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Published by Rachel Chase on 14 Feb 2014

Last December I attended a MusaNet workshop on best practices for Musa germplasm collection and data management held at CIRAD’s field collection on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. The traditional group photo hints at the diversity of both the experts looking after the world’s bananas and of the bananas themselves. The setting was perfect for discussing the pièce de résistance of the workshop: the Taxonomic Reference Collection (TRC).

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Published by Anne Vézina on 19 Dec 2013

Ten years ago the export banana was given until 2013 before being wiped out by Tropical Race 4 (TR4), the particularly virulent Fusarium strain that has been cutting a swath through Southeast Asia’s commercial plantations of Cavendish bananas. 2013 will not go down in history as the year the iconic banana disappeared from supermarket shelves, but it will be remembered nonetheless; as the year the TR4 fungus was first reported in Africa. The news that TR4 had been confirmed in a Cavendish plantation of northern Mozambique came on the heels of the revelation that the fungus has been in Jordan since 2006. It later transpired that TR4 might also have been in Mozambique for a while, as much as two to three years, according to a news piece in the journal Nature.

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