Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Bananas Becoming a Critically Important Food
A new report says climate change could lead to bananas becoming a critically important food for millions of the world's inhabitants.
The report, which is the result of research carried out by CGIAR agricultural partnership, says that, in the event of certain climate change models becoming reality, bananas may replace potatoes in some developiong nations.
Cassava and cowpea would also play an increasingly important role if temperatures continue to rise.
The report predicts that the world's three biggest crops (in terms of calorie provision) will decrease in developing countries and that the potato, which flourishes in cooler climates, will also suffer decline in cultivation.
The authors argue that these changes "could provide an opening for cultivating certain varieties of bananas" at higher altitudes, even in those places that currently grow potatoes.
Dr Philip Thornton, who is one of the authors, says that, whilst bananas have limitations, they may prove to be a potato substitute in some areas.
"It's not necessarily a silver bullet but there may be places where as temperatures increase, bananas might be one option that small holders could start to look at."
Cassava Cassava could help meet food needs in South Asia
The challenge, as the report sees it, will be in persuading consumers to switch diets and growers to adapt.