What dead banana?
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CTA. 2003. What dead banana?. Spore 105. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47967
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore105.pdf
It was one of the news stories that flew around the world in mid-January
It was one of the news stories that flew around the world in mid-January: the world s bananas would become extinct within 10 years, unless they could be saved by genetic modification! Immediately, denials were rushed out by many banana producer countries and interest groups. "Make no mistake. The banana has a bright future, and not just through genetic engineering" was one response given in an article in the Fruitrop newsletter by Jacky Ganry, the director of the Fruit Department of the international centre for cooperation on development-oriented agricultural research . It all started with an article in the British New Scientist magazine which quoted Emile Frison, the then director of the International Network for the Improvement of Bananas and Plantain (INIBAP), and emphasised the dramatic side of the story. It was picked up by all the news agencies, including Agence France Presse, which gave it global coverage. It was always a titillating story with lots of appeal: the dessert banana is the world s most consumed fruit, and the topic of genetic modification feeds people s food fears and is the subject of many a controversy. But it is more complex than that. Banana diseases are a cause of great concern for millions of producers in the South; for them it is a staple crop and food. These diseases were then turned into the basis of a media frenzy to rattle consumers who buy their bananas at the supermarket. The real question is whether or not it is necessary and useful to genetically modify banana plants. The answers, whether affirmative or negative, are long ones. But it is on these answers that the health of many banana plants and the prosperity of ACP producers depend. Not to mention the funding prospects of a few biotechnology laboratories