The Real Banana Republic

The Banana or the Cavendish banana, more popularly known as the Del Monte banana is facing extinction through the Sigatoka Fungus and Panama disease. Because of its unique reproductive system, its sexless, seedless and reproduced from only cuttings. Every single banana is a clone, having exact genetic codes. So without any genetic outliers, any diseases or epidemics can wipe out the whole variety before it can develop any immunity. Its popular predecessor, Gros Michel banana (popular before 1950s) was commerically annihilated by the same fungus.

Here's an interesting book, 'Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World' by author Dan Koeppel.

Koeppel explains the history of of the banana, and how the cavendish banana came to be a popular variety in our supermarkets. He also gave some insight on the Banana Republics of Central America, a little dark history of corporate america like United Fruit Company igniting civil wars in Central America.

The book gives a harsh look at the food production corporations with their mono-cultures. Quite a bleak future of food.

However there are some things I do disagree, like his views of genetic modification and organic farming. His solution is the use of genetic modified banana (the present variety is GM, hello) and disagrees that going into organic farming is not the solution, even though he acknowledges that bananas are one of the crops that are heavily sprayed with pesticides. does an radio interview with Dan Koeppel,
go check it out at