How to save the banana? The answer may lie in Indonesia

Rerooted – future of bananas

Globally, there are around 1,000 varieties of bananas but most of us will only ever come across one: the Cavendish. And the Cavendish is in trouble. 

A fungus known as fusarium wilt is spreading across multiple countries and infecting Cavendish plantations from the Philippines to Peru. The disease has no cure and because Cavendish plants are genetic clones of each other, when one falls, the rest follow. It’s bad news for a market that sees 100 billion bananas consumed each year.  

Farmers, researchers, and banana corporations are racing to find a cure. Many of them are betting on a technical solution to make the Cavendish disease-resistant without disrupting the global banana supply chain. 

But what if the long-term solution is a lot more complex than that? We travelled to Indonesia, home to hundreds of banana varieties, to find out.

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