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  • To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <>
  • Subject: RE: [NAFEX] Bananas
  • Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 13:11:58 -0600

i am saddened by the lack of concern it seems that is being expressed about
the underlying issues with these diseases. over the last hundred years,
repressive political climates, slave labor, assinations of socialists
leaders, and ignorance have been and are the tools with which banana cartels
control their third world growing regions while shipping to us in the first
world the fruits of worse than sweat shop conditions. no one commented at all
on the issue of pesticide and fungicide exposure to workers in plantations
which i can say from first and second hand experience is a horrible reality.
the fact that soil borne disease is the reason vast areas of forest are
burned or cut (not local firewood gatherers or indigenous slash and burn ag)
to expose virgin soil for the now boom bust cycle of plantation ag. leaf and
soil diseases are carried by workers and equipment into the local areas,
killing local varieties, as well as chemical residues in the water supply
resulting in mu!
ch sickness. it easy for those of us in the first world benefiting from the
throttle of the invisible hand to act like owls; our twenty twenty hind sight
saying well of course monoculture is the problem. but of course where were we
thirty years ago when bananas tasted "better". a small group of first world
plant collectors apparently are not owls but mice, seeing only in front of
them their pleasure gardening and potted tropicals. so go buy your diverse
selection of bananas and let someone else worry about soil erosion, caste
systems and our greedy little desire for the next tasty thing. i thought
maybe the purpose of nafex was to promote good will and food for all. guess
this doesn't apply to those in the third world. with the attitudes expressed
on this subject, i know why the banana and many other crops continue to be
threatened by modern ag supplies systems, plant collectors, development and
varieties going extinct because of villagers having no land to plant them.
400 v!
arieties in test tubes! that is the anti-christ of what i thought i was doing
in this group! to save them for us but not for them? i hope all those test
tubes break. i assure all of you this banana story and others like it are not
reactionists crying chicken little. the refuting articles are those funded
and backed by ag interests and supermarket chains. the climatic and social
problems created by our cushy lifestyle ARE destroying the world's food
supply. period. i'm going to go eat a golden russet grown right here.
On Wed, 29 Oct 2003 10:31:01 -0500, "gorgon zolla" <>

> I too had read the doom-and-gloom predictions about banana production. But
> in my limited reading, it would appear that fungal diseases, insect pests,
> and nematodes have been major problems in commercial banana culture for
> decades. It hardly seems that another new race of fusarium could spell the
> end of the industry. Fusarium-resistant varieties and cultivars have been
> produced for so many plants that the process is predictable and well
> understood. The only things unique to the banana are the relative paucity
> of research dollars and the supposed difficulty of breeding. Though, an 18
> month seed-to-seed cycle doesn't seem that long compared to, say, pears.
> I wasn't going to mention this because it seems so foolish, but I do have
> three varieties of banana plants on order from a nursery in Florida and
> will
> be trying to grow them out in pots. I'm hoping they will flower in the
> late
> summer heat next year and thus set fruit. They are: dwarf Cavendish, dwarf
> Oronoco, and dwarf Brazilian. Said to be among the more suitable for
> potted
> culture. I'll provide a full report in the unlikely event that they do
> anything.
> On a culinary note, I remember visiting West Palm Beach once on business
> and
> being given a few bananas from the backyard tree of a colleague who lived
> there. The fruit were delightful, somewhat sweeter and more flavorful than
> the storebought varieties. I imagine that the improved quality had more to
> do with freshness than climate, variety, or culture.
> Steve Dunlop
> Nerstrand, MN (Zone 4)
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