When India was termed a ‘banana republic’ once by a prominent leader, he was not completely wrong, at least practically, as India accounts for a third-of the largest production of bananas, and is the second largest republic of the world. China, of course, the largest republic in the world, as its name implies, is the second largest producer of bananas.
Ecuador, the South American country, though grows less, is the largest exporter of Bananas, and has been a republic too since the last four decades. The growing concern of the spread of a fungus named Tropical Race 4 (TR4) has spread panic amongst the banana growers in all the three republics, especially in South America. This development is viewed as a threat to the cultivation of bananas, Cavendish Banana in particular.
If recent reports are anything to go by, a famous Bollywood actor being charged an exorbitant rate for a couple of bananas in a popular chain of hotels in India may turn out to be the new normal if this incurable spell isn’t contained or controlled. In that case, this incident may well go down in history as the earliest documented note indicating the beginning of the end of Cavendish Bananas in India.
The world’s top banana was Gros Michael, which was toppled by Cavendish becoming the world’s popular banana variety, due to the former’s vulnerability to TR4. As figures indicate, almost half of India’s banana is nothing but Cavendish and its clone varieties any surprise that Alexander the great fell for this highly delectable fruit during his invasion in India. Let’s hope the solution too should come from here, and rightly so!