(CNN)Fifty years ago, we were eating better bananas.
A threat to Africa
- The banana plant is not a tree, but the world's largest herb.
- The fruit itself is, botanically, a berry.
- Bananas are very slightly radioactive, as they naturally contain potassium-40, a radioactive isotope.
- They are grown in over 100 countries.
- India is the world's largest producer.
- Ecuador is the world's largest exporter.
Not just the Cavendish
Can it be stopped?
Africa is currently fighting another serious disease that affects bananas, called Xanthonomas wilt or BXW, a bacterial disease that started spreading from Uganda in 2001. Although mostly limited to East Africa and Congo, it significantly reduced crop yields at the time of its most virulent spread, around 2005. So far, no cultivar has been found to be resistant to the disease, which spreads through contaminated soil, tools, and insects.