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April 15th, 2019 / Fresh Plaza

Millions of people depend on bananas. However, their cultivation is very vulnerable to diseases and the effects of climate change. There is a pressing need for a new more resistant banana variety. To this end, on Monday, 8 April the Belgian University, KU Leuven, and Bioversity International signed an agreement. This was done to guarantee the diversity of the world’s favorite fruit. 

It may surprise many people, but the banana is one of the most important foodstuffs on the planet. It is on par with rice, wheat, maize, and potatoes. Each year, 148 million tons of bananas are grown. For an estimated 30 million people, this fruit is a vital part of their diets. Most of these people live in Africa and Asia. They do not only sell and eat it as a dessert, baking, cooking, and beer brewing with bananas are also an essential source of food and income.

However, banana cultivation faces significant challenges. This is according to Professor Rony Swennen, Head of the Laboratory for Tropical Plant Cultivation at the KU Leuven. Here, research into bananas has been ongoing for more than 40 years. “The world’s population is growing. Therefore, banana production must increase. And that is where the problem lies. Plantations usually only grow one kind of banana. This makes this type of cultivation very vulnerable for diseases and the effects of climate change,” says the professor.Read more…