A fruit bowl favourite and a staple food to millions, the banana is under threat from a formidable foe

Some suggest the banana is on the brink of extinction. Panama disease, also known as fusarium wilt, is on the march, wiping out plantations that provide a staple food for hundreds of millions of people and a livelihood for hundreds of thousands more.

Others say talk of Bananageddon is exaggerated. They point out bananas are as cheap and abundant as ever in our shops. The fungal strain that causes a new form of Panama disease has been spreading steadily for three decades, yet global production has continued to rise. Latin America – where some 80% of exported bananas are grown – has so far kept the pathogen at bay.

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