by Daniel Park
Before the 1960s, there were better bananas.
These ancient bananas were bigger, tastier, and simply better. I haven’t had these bananas, having been born in the 21st century, but my grandfather loves bananas and have described the older fruit.
These tasteful bananas were called the Gros Michel. Unfortunately for this tasteful and robust fruit has gone extinct due to the Panama Disease. According to the Huffington Post, the Cavendish (the banana eaten today) is immune to the fungus. Well, was.
Turns out a new strain of the Panama Disease aka, TR4 (tropical race 4) is creating the same situation as the Gros Michel. This strain has existed for a few decades but only existed in Southeast Asia. The Cavendish was immune to the Panama Disease but not this new variety which has not existed in Central America.
The fungus harmful to the Cavendish only existed in Southeast Asia. Now it has spread to the Middle East, South Asia, and Australia. Fortunately this disease has not reached Latin America which is ⅗ of the world’s banana exports.
The stop of the spread of this disease is the most important thing, because not only is the banana a multi-billion dollar industry, but also is a staple food source for hundreds millions of people. It is said that replacing the current banana will be extremely difficult, as many of the hundreds of wild bananas are completely different and may not even be healthy to consume.
Maybe later on our grandchildren will not hear about a better banana, but an old fruit that has once existed.