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Mediawatch

Links to online news on bananas

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.

Iron-fortified bananas

Tuesday, 13 March 2012
GMO

Australia's Queensland University of Technology and India's Department of Biotechnology will collaborate on the development of iron-rich GM bananas. In an interview, the project leader James Dale said  that bananas were a good vehicle for addressing iron-deficiency anaemia in a country where a large proportion of the population are vegetarians, which means that they do not get iron from a meat diet. They do however consume a considerable amount of bananas.

The banana's major enemy

Friday, 09 March 2012

Miguel Dita of Bioversity International describes to BBC Mundo the difficulties of controlling black leaf streak disease, better known as black Sigatoka.

Chiquita's environmental alliances

Monday, 13 February 2012
Chiquita celebrates its 20-year collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance, one of the longest sustained relationships between a company and an NGO.

A new banana species?

Monday, 06 February 2012
The announcement that a new banana species, Musa serpentina, had been discovered, sparked a discussion on its identity.

Building better bananas

Tuesday, 31 January 2012
GMO
Bill Gates blogs about efforts to increase the levels of vitamin A and iron in bananas from Uganda.

The antiquity of banana cultivation in western Africa

Monday, 23 January 2012
Recent excavations that contradict previous, but disputed, findings suggesting a first millennium BC arrival of bananas in western Africa will not be enough to settle the issue, argues The Archaeobotanist.