The United Nations’ (UN) Food & Agriculture Organization is warning that banana prices could rise as a disease threatens crops in some regions.
Banana prices could be forced higher if the TR4 strain of Panama disease continues to spread. The disease has destroyed crops in Indonesia, Australia, China, Philippines and Malaysia, and has been detected in the Middle East and Africa. However, the disease has not hit Latin America yet. Cavendish bananas, which comprise 95% of exported bananas, are susceptible to the disease, Bloomberg notes.
The spread of the disease is endangering the $8.9 billion global banana market. A UN official called the situation “serious for the medium term,” but said there was no need for suppliers to panic just yet.
American consumers paid 59.9 cents per pound of bananas in February. The U.S. is the largest importer of bananas. Banana prices have been climbing slowly over the last year and a half.
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