The banana crisis and what Chiquita is doing about it

Corporate News
20 Jul 2018

Bananas all around the world are being attacked by a soil-dwelling fungus. Tropical race 4 (TR4) is the name given to the strains of fungus that cause what is commonly known as Panama Disease or Fusarium wilt of banana. This disease causes plants to wither and die.

There are more than 1,000 varieties of bananas produced and consumed in the world, but the most common is the Cavendish banana. Bananas are one of the most important food crops and subsistence foods worldwide.

The soil-dwelling fungus cannot be controlled using fungicides and cannot be eradicated from soil using fumigants. It does not discriminate between the rich and the poor, and effects farms both large and small. Currently, there is no effective treatment for TR4 once it has infected a banana plant. In addition, the fungus can be transmitted through planting materials, and infested soil particles carried by things such as clothes, water or vehicles. Moreover, the fungus can remain dormant in the soil for decades.

In our globally connected world, the spread of TR4 is limitless. For this reason, TR4 is considered the biggest threat to banana production worldwide.

Chiquita is helping to bring together leading scientists, industry players, researchers, and institutions to address this impending threat. The global scientific congress (ICPP) with be held on the 28th of July 2018. Scientists from around the world will meet in Boston to discuss the current status of research and development and how to deal with the alarming disease, TR4.

Chiquita is proud to support such an important event. This will be the first global scientific exchange on the subject. The event will bring together approximately 100 specialists in this field. 15 speakers will share their findings and participants will debate the way forward in combating the banana crisis.

In supporting this event, Chiquita seeks to facilitate bringing together research experts from the world over to share their thoughts and expertise. The opening address at the congress will be made by Andrew Biles.

At Chiquita, we hope this will be one of the many steps taken by industry on the way to finding a permanent solution for the effective management of TR4.

Chiquita continues to work towards a sustainable banana future, implementing principles of sustainability in all its business practices under the “Behind the Blue Sticker” Initiative.

Chiquita’s goal is to ensure healthy banana productions for many years to come for you and your families!