M.A. Dita, H. Garming, I. Van den Bergh, C. Staver, T. Lescot
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), although not the center of origin of banana, grow 28% of the global production. Approximately 20 million tons (64% of production) are locally consumed, and seven countries of the region are in the top 10 banana exporting nations. In addition, 72% of exported plantains are produced in LAC. In spite of considerable technological change in recent decades in LAC, the crop continues to face important challenges. Of overarching priority is strengthening quarantine procedures against tropical race 4 of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, Banana bunchy top virus, Xanthomonas wilt and other pests and diseases not yet present in LAC. Climate change and rising costs for fertilizers, fossil fuels and pesticides are also important challenges. Opportunities for increased grower income and greater contribution from banana to national economies are also constrained by an underinvested research and development system. Other threats and opportunities are specific to each of the seven common production systems: (1) conventional tropical Cavendish (AAA) production for export – black leaf streak (BLS) and increasing strict environmental and worker safety regulations; (2) organic tropical Cavendish production for export – crop nutrition, pests and diseases of fruits in postharvest, BLS; (3) subtropical Cavendish production – abiotic stresses; (4) plantain monoculture – BLS and water deficit; (5) monoculture of banana cultivars specific to certain countries, such as ‘Prata’ (AAB) in Brazil and ‘Isla’ and ‘Palillo’ (AAB, Pacific plantain) in Peru – Fusarium wilt; (6) banana associated in coffee and cocoa fields – Fusarium wilt and deficient marketing; and (7) mixed and monocrop banana produced at small scale for home consumption or local markets – BLS and poor management. Collaborative regional knowledge platforms may offer increasing benefits, especially with more sophisticated electronic tools for knowledge sharing. These can support key themes, such as identification of homologue and analogue zones; crop, climate and pest modeling; tools for the study of soil and root health; and relevant information to guide breeding strategies through genetic and genomics.
Dita, M.A., Garming, H., Van den Bergh, I., Staver, C. and Lescot, T. (2013). BANANA IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: CURRENT STATE, CHALLENGES AND PERSPECTIVES. Acta Hortic. 986, 365-380
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.986.39
pests and diseases, breeding, climate change, marketing, production systems, seed systems

Acta Horticulturae