The ‘pandemic’ destroying the world’s favourite fruit

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Discussion posted by: David McNamara

A killer disease turns up out of the blue. It moves by “stealth transmission”, spreading before symptoms even show. Once it takes hold, it is already too late to stop it – there is no cure. Life will never be the same again. Sound familiar? Although this may sound remarkably like Covid-19, I am actually talking about Tropical Race 4 (TR4), a disease that affects bananas. Also known as Panama Disease, it is a fungus that has been rampaging through banana farms for the past 30 years. But within the last decade the epidemic has suddenly accelerated, spreading from Asia to Australia, the Middle East, Africa and more recently Latin America, where the majority of the bananas shipped to supermarkets in the global north come from.