Panama Disease Threatens All Bananas - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Panama Disease Threatens All Bananas

Published May 18, 2016

Jóhanna Pétursdóttir
Photos by
Kelley Rees

Many banana plantations all over the world have needed to shut down because their crops were infected with the fungus Fusarium. This type of fungus causes the Panama Disease, which starves the plants at the root and renders the soil unfit for growing more bananas.

RÚV reports that Iceland’s banana plantation, located in Hveragerði, might gain importance because of this disease spreading all over the world.

“This is a deadly disease,” administrator of the Agricultural University of Iceland Guðríður Helgadóttir said. “It spreads very quickly if someone moves between banana plantations and has some infected soil on their shoes.”

As such, the chances of the Panama Disease reaching Icelandic bananas are very slim.

This is not the first time this disease emerges. In the 1950s, the Panama Disease wiped out the most popular banana cultivar at the time, the Gros Michel, and left us with the one we are familiar with now, the Cavendish banana – which is now endangered because of this disease.

Iceland boasts the biggest indoor banana plantation in Europe, and Guðríður believes Iceland’s location could mean a banana boom for the country.

“So maybe we have some gold here that we should let people know of,” she said.

More info on how to save the bananas here!

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