PANORAMA OF THE BANANA INDUSTRY IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS, WITH A SPECIAL FOCUS ON BRAZIL
As a natural product of excellent nutritional value that is consumed in almost equivalent volumes as other important staple crops, banana is the most important fruit in the world. This is also true of Latin America, embracing some large producers such as Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, and some exporters of excellence, such as Ecuador and Costa Rica. The banana industry in Latin America and the Caribbean islands is very diverse, ranging from small growers mostly focused towards local and regional domestic markets to large plantations run by big companies with a few dominating the international market. Environmental conditions prevalent in the production areas are also diverse, ranging from subtropical to tropical climates, from very humid to rather dry climates, from lowlands to highlands. Even though very few cultivars are destined for export, many different cultivars are being grown for national markets using characteristic crop management practices which increasingly aim to reduce chemical inputs. The crop has received attention from research institutes and organizations in many countries, such as CORBANA in Costa Rica, Bioversity in several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, INIFAP in Mexico, CIAT and CORPOICA in Colombia, INIA in Venezuela, MINAG and its several institutes in Cuba, INIA in Peru, INTA in Argentina, and EMBRAPA and some other organizations, such as EPAGRI, in Brazil. Most of these entities are joined and work together in the MUSALAC network. This overview highlights the main current challenges faced by the regional banana industry. It then summarizes the regional R&D initiatives and stakeholders involved in addressing these challenges, along with recent advances and special attention to new cultivars, pest and disease control practices and crop management systems. The paper emphasizes a requirement for focused R&D and other strategic efforts from all players involved, especially with regard to the possible impacts of climate change. The challenges can be overcome collaboratively, via regional and R&D networks. The ProMusa 2011 symposium is a great opportunity to this end.
Reinhardt, D.H., dos Santos-Serejo, J.A. and da S. Souza, J. (2013). PANORAMA OF THE BANANA INDUSTRY IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS, WITH A SPECIAL FOCUS ON BRAZIL. Acta Hortic. 986, 27-37
climate change, constraints, export, institutes, Musa spp., pests and diseases, production, research