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Mediawatch

Links to online news on bananas

The unsustainable pricing of UK's favourite fruit

Friday, 25 October 2013

In a piece on how the UK supermarkets' banana price war is making sustainable production impossible for producers and their workers, Alistair Smith of Banana Link is quoted as saying that "Competition law so far deals only with cartels of suppliers, not with cartels of buyers. But we're in a new world where cartels of buyers can force down prices, whatever the sector".

Marketing Kenyan bananas

Thursday, 24 October 2013

In The time is ripe, the magazine Spore explores the various marketing strategies used by banana producers in Kenya to develop domestic and regional markets.

Filipino banana farmers share their experience with TR4

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Filipino farmers talk about their experience with the tropical race 4 fungal strain that attacks Cavendish bananas in two videos (part 1 and part 2) produced for a group of Wageningen UR researchers working on Fusarium wilt (better known as Panama disease). The series contains other videos on the dreaded disease.

Australia takes action against banana freckle

Tuesday, 03 September 2013

No sooner had freckle disease been found on Cavendish bananas that the Northern Territory's Department of Primary Industry put several farms under quarantine. The disease was originally found in hobby farms and depending on the results of a survey of 300 farms, the authorities will decide whether to try eradicating the disease. The disease had been observed on other cultivars, but never on Cavendish ones.

 

The Tribute to Phil Rowe online

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The organizers of the Earth International Banana Congress, which included a Tribute to Phil Rowe, have just put online the PDFs of the presentations. The congress also had a session on carbon neutrality and sustainable production.

GM bananas: from nutrition to disease resistance

Monday, 26 August 2013
GMO

James Dale of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia speaks with freshfruitportal.com about the various projects he and his team are working on, from making bananas resistant to bunchy top and Fusarium wilt to tackling vitamin A and iron deficiencies.

Harnessing local banana know-how

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Living in a cyclone prone area has necessarily led to the development of coping mechanisms to survive their aftermath. One of these, from Futuna island in Vanuatu, is a method to preserve unripe bananas for up to two years. Another one from Samoa is a propagation method that can produce 50 shoots from a single plant to accelerate replanting after a cyclone. This traditional know-how is being disseminated as part of a SPC-GIZ project.

Surviving Panama’s banana crisis cooperatively

Thursday, 04 April 2013

Alistair Smith of Banana Link explains, at Fresh Fruit Portal, how a cooperative run by former Chiquita workers has survived the dramatic decline in Panama’s banana exports that has taken place in recent years. The Cooperativa Bananera del Atlantico R.L., known as Coobana, has some 500 workers, 220 of whom are members of the cooperative.

Videos by the Australia's bunchy top project

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

As part of its ambitious campaign to eradicate bunchy top, the Australian Bunchy Top National Project funded by the banana industry and the Australian government has produced a four-minute video targeting the general public. A shorter version focuses on the symptoms and what to do in case of infection.

Blogs on bunchy top in Australia

India's plan to enter the global banana trade

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

According to BBC News, the Confederation of Indian Industries has drawn up a plan to export bananas from the country's main production region in the south. Their ambition is to create a global brand, Tamil Nadu Bananas, along the lines of Florida Oranges and California Apples. Among the challenges producers face are reducing waste, which currently represents about 30% of production, and improving post-harvest facilities.

Typhoon 'Pablo' flattens banana plantations

Friday, 07 December 2012

In addition to claiming the lives of more than 400 people, the devastating typhoon ‘Pablo’ that hit the island of Mindanao in the Philippines also caused extensive damage that affect the livelihoods of millions of people. The commercial banana plantations were particularly affected (most of the country’s plantations of export bananas are located on the southern island precisely because it is usually less affected by typhoons than the northern islands). The other worry is that the floods might have spread the tropical race 4 fungus that causes Fusarium wilt on Cavendish bananas.

Not so new gene discovery

Tuesday, 04 December 2012

In reaction to a blog post on the discovery of genes for resistance to black Sigatoka in Calcutta 4, Rodomiro Ortiz of the Dept. Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences reflects on a similar discovery two decades ago. It's also worth mentioning that black Sigatoka (black leaf streak) is not present in India, as the original blog post suggests.

The definitive end of the banana wars

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

It turns out that the 2009 agreement on tariff reduction was only the beginning of the end of the banana wars. A number of legal steps were required before a World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement could be signed, including the introduction of EU legislation and the separate ratification of the deal by individual countries. The definitive end of the banana wars was announced when the European Union and 10 Latin American countries signed an agreement to formally end eight separate WTO cases. Malcolm Borthwick, a business reporter with BBC News, analyses the impact of the end of the trade war.

The case for BBTV control in Australia

Tuesday, 06 November 2012

Fresh Plaza reports on the estimated benefits of excluding the Banana bunchy top virus from commercial banana plantations in Australia. The study published in PLOS ONE estimates that exclusion would avoid Aus$15.9-27.0 million in annual losses for the banana industry.

Blogs about bunchy top in Australia

The place of bananas in a warming world

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Climate change will affect where bananas are grown, but the range of the crop is not expected to shrink, according to the policy brief Recalibrating Food Production in the Developing World. Bananas might lose out in areas where rainfall will decrease but warmer weather might allow the cultivation of certain varieties at higher altitudes. Bananas might even replace potatoes in places, echoed the BBC.

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.