BANANA PRODUCTION CHALLENGES IN THE SUBTROPICS: ARE BANANA VARIETIES PART OF THE SOLUTION?
Many challenges face those producing bananas in suboptimal environments. This is particularly true of the subtropics where mostly cooler growing conditions adversely affect yields and fruit quality. The main problems are attributed to lower temperatures that greatly extend the duration of the crop cycle and reduce yield per unit time, and chilling damage to plants and fruit and associated abnormal bunch and fruit development. Fruit greenlife (transport life) can also be severely compromised. In some locations producers have sought to avoid these problems by cultivating bananas in greenhouses. The cooler growing conditions of the subtropics favour susceptibility to some plant pests and diseases. Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense) has caused major problems for subtropical producers in South Africa, Australia, Taiwan, Brazil and to some extent in the Canary Islands. These aspects of subtropical production make it difficult for subtropical fruit to compete successfully for market share with fruit from the tropics. Product differentiation can be a solution and alternative banana varieties are seen as one means of doing this. In the case of Fusarium wilt, growers have often been quite desperate and have commonly seen resistant varieties as their only solution. This paper discusses the role of banana varieties in dealing with the challenges of banana production in the subtropics and the opportunities they provide for the further development of the subtropical banana industries.
Daniells, J.W. and O'Keefe, V. (2012). BANANA PRODUCTION CHALLENGES IN THE SUBTROPICS: ARE BANANA VARIETIES PART OF THE SOLUTION?. Acta Hortic. 928, 67-73
bananas, varieties, markets