Climate change could cause global banana shortage

If you enjoy a morning smoothie with a banana, or mashing one up on toast, that indulgence could soon become a lot more expensive.

A new study shows that global production of bananas could be threatened by global warming. It shows that in 27 countries which account for 86% of global dessert banana production, climate change has so far resulted in more favourable conditions for the crop.

However, if things continue as they have done, the gains will reduce or disappear completely by 2050.

The new study led by Dr Dan Bebber looks at rising temperatures and increased rainfall on the world’s leading banana producers and exporters.

It predicts that India – the world’s biggest producer and consumer of bananas – and the world’s fourth largest producer, Brazil, will see a significant decline in their crop yield of bananas.

However, some countries including Ecuador (the largest exporter) could see an overall benefit.

Dr Bebber, from the University of Exeter, said: ‘We’re very concerned about the impact of diseases like Fusarium Wilt on bananas, but the impacts of climate change have been largely ignored.

‘There will be winners and losers in coming years, and our study may stimulate vulnerable countries to prepare through investment in technologies like irrigation.’

Grown throughout the tropics and subtropics, bananas are a key crop for millions of people across the world.

In Britain for example, more than five billion bananas are purchased each year and the UK accounts for 7% of the global export market.

The study, Climate change impacts on banana yields around the world, is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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