Fungal disease could affect banana growing

Cavendish bananas account for the majority of bananas grown

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Bananas could soon be hard to find on the store shelves.

A strain of fungal disease originating from Central America is threatening the Cavendish banana, which is the most popular banana found in grocery stores nationwide.

Banana genetic diversity has declined over the last 50 years, meaning the majority of bananas are affected by this fungus.

There are hundreds of banana varieties, but the Cavendish accounts for nearly all exported bananas.

“I think that there should be diversity in growing the bananas because we don’t want all the bananas to be wiped out. As long as they taste good,” said Linda Hogan of Springfield.

The fungus contaminates the soil, and can spread from wind, cars, and water.  Commercial growers say banana growth is in jeopardy because the fungus stays in the soil.

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