Fungus could cause banana shortage, drive up prices

Published: Aug. 15, 2019 at 5:56 PM CDT
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Bananas may soon be harder to find, and more expensive.

Officials in Colombia confirm a fungus that decimated banana plantations in Asia and Australia is now there.

The tropical "Race Four" strain of Panama disease infects the soil banana plants grow in.

It eventually makes them unable to produce fruit.

The fungus led Colombian authorities to declare a state of emergency.

Because the disease generally spreads before it is discovered, experts say containment efforts probably won't keep it from migrating across Latin America.

A different strain of the fungus decimated bananas in the early 1900's.

Farmers started growing the type of bananas we eat today specifically because they were resistant to it.

However -- there are no additional banana types that can easily survive the shipping time from Latin America to U.S. grocers.