The price of one of our favourite staple foods is about to go up

It happened when we had tropical cyclones up north a few years ago, and now something else is threatening our

It happened when we had tropical cyclones up north a few years ago, and now something else is threatening our supply of bananas – Panama disease.

This pesky parasite is back again to haunt the crops of Queensland farmers, affecting up to 95 per cent of the bananas in supermarkets right now.

The price of bananas currently is around $2 a kg, but it could soon skyrocket to 2011 prices if there’s to be a repeat of the previous Panama disease scare.

ABC reports the disease has only been detected on one Queensland farm, near Tully, south of Cairns, which tested positive for the soil-borne fungus in March 2015.

While TR4 poses no health risk to humans, the disease attacks all banana varieties, including Cavendish bananas which make up 95 per cent of bananas on sale.

Farms are once more feeling the struggle after biosecurity tests and measures continue to add up.

Australian Banana Growers Council chairman Doug Phillips told the ABC it had taken growers some getting used to.

“Even on little simple things, you know, going to visit the neighbour to just catch up and have a chat, now you know, there was a bit of a reluctance to do that,” he said.

Researchers are now looking for a disease-resistant banana variety to replace the popular Cavendish.

Professor Andre Drenth, from the University of Queensland’s centre for plant science, said Panama disease could mean the days of cheap bananas were numbered.

“In the presence of TR4, the cost of production will go up so that means the cost for the consumer will also go up,” he said.

“The more the disease spreads, the more the price of the Cavendish will go up.

“The perfect banana is a difficult concept. The grower wants something, which is short and highly productive, the middle-man, the retailer wants something that has good shelf life, the consumer wants something that is tasty,” he said.

Tell us, are you a fan of bananas? Will you be stop buying them if the price rises, or will you continue to support farmers?



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