Tapping into the wealth of local banana diversity for pest and disease resistance and consumer acceptability: a catalogue of the most popular cultivars in local markets across the world
The main export banana cultivar, the Cavendish subgroup, is estimated to account for over 50% of global production, but it is also the major banana type consumed in China, and accounts for one-quarter of national consumption in India. Cavendish bananas are becoming more popular in other countries as well, where they have replaced local cultivars that cannot compete in yield and in the marketplace. However, the Cavendish subgroup is susceptible to diseases such as Sigatoka, Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4), banana bunchy top disease and pests such as weevils and nematodes. Therefore, unsustainable management practices have been implemented, such as the intensive use of fungicides and pesticides that are costly both environmentally and economically. The search for Cavendish alternatives with the same marketability but resistant to biotic threats is becoming more urgent as the devastating TR4 pathogen has now reached all major banana producing continents. Despite calls for biotechnological solutions, alternatives to Cavendish must meet the demands of local tastes, cultures, and markets to be widely accepted by consumers. The immense local banana diversity around the world, including cultivars with disease and pest resistance that facilitate organic production, holds the key to finding alternatives to Cavendish. The problem is that local diversity is decreasing and is often under-documented and under-conserved. To help reverse this trend, and in collaboration with MusaNet regional network members, we have created a global data set of the most popular banana cultivars in 50 banana producing countries, including local cultivar names, subgroups, desired traits, and production estimates (area and yield). The final product, a catalogue of the most popular bananas in local markets around the world, will serve as a reference for germplasm curators, researchers and breeders in their pursuit to conserve Musa diversity and find suitable and environmentally friendly ways to produce banana sustainably.
Chase, R., Dita, M., Omondi, B.A., Ekesa, B., Zheng, S.J. and Roux, N. (2023). Tapping into the wealth of local banana diversity for pest and disease resistance and consumer acceptability: a catalogue of the most popular cultivars in local markets across the world. Acta Hortic. 1367, 47-54
diversity, Musa, MusaNet, organic production, cultivars