It's All In The Climate: New Study from Research Scientists at Florida International University Predict

Banana Growth Heading North for the Next 50 Years

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NEW YORK (PRWEB) December 18, 2013

Research scientists at Florida International University say that climate change during the next 50 years will result in opportunities for Latin America's banana crop to expand northward to plantations with more favorable growing conditions.

The study was published in the current edition of the science journal Ecological Economics.

Brian Machovina and Kenneth J. Feeley, authors of the study, examined changes in conditions for cultivating bananas on plantations in 11 South and Central American countries. They found that as weather conditions become too hot and dry on many existing plantations, chances for raising successful crops will improve in areas of Mexico, Peru and Ecuador.

“Not all plantations will have problems,” explained Machovina, a Ph.D. candidate at Florida International University’s Department of Biological Sciences and a co-inventor of Yonanas, the popular kitchen appliance that turns ripe frozen bananas and other fruits into an all-natural treat that tastes like soft serve ice cream. “By expanding irrigation, applying regional water conservation measures, or developing climate resilient strains, many existing plantations are likely to be thriving well into the 2060s. Our findings are not a disaster prediction, but highlight the need for adaptability by potentially expanding cultivation in new countries and taking the right steps to avoid possible hazards ahead in existing plantations.”

Annually, bananas are a $5 billion export crop worldwide and Ecuador is the largest producer, accounting for a $2 billion share of the market. Latin America produces 80% of banana exports which are vital for many countries' economies in Central and South America.

Yonanas, the leading appliance in its category, has a natural interest in protecting the banana production, particularly in Latin America. Machovina’s research interests, which focus on food security and sustainability, call attention to shifting climate conditions and the steps that will be necessary to prepare for coming change. “Finding viable and innovative solutions that will protect agriculture through long-term adaptation and improvements in land management is critical given projected climate change,” Machovina added.

Working under the guidance of his dissertation advisor and climate-change expert Feeley, Machovina determined the changes based on projections by computer models. Their conclusions about rising temperatures and wider dryness in tropical countries of Latin America and the likely impact on banana plantation production, includes pinpointing areas that will be favorable for cultivating bananas in the coming decades, as well as recommendations for water conservation and resilient banana variety development for areas affected negatively by projected climate change.

To obtain a copy of the study published in Ecological Economics, please visit http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800913002619.


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