Banana production 'could rise to higher altitudes'

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Banana production 'could rise to higher altitudes'

Meteorologist raises spectre of moving production as a consequence of climate change and more frequent droughts

Banana production 'could rise to higher altitudes'

Jose Manuel Gálvez, pictured at the International Banana Congress

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Global warming could result in more regions of the world being able to support banana production, but that change won't be without its challenges.

That was the view of José Manuel Gálvez, research meteorologist at the scientific agency NOAA in the US, who told the International Banana Congress that climate models indicate there will be an increase in the frequency of droughts in banana-producing areas such as Central America and the Amazon basin. 

With that could come associated problems such as a greater incidence of pests in areas such as northern Colombia, he warned.

But rising temperatures will mean areas previously considered unsuitable for producing bananas – which require warm weather – could start to come into play. “This will allow the relocation of banana production into higher altitudes, though it may require more irrigation,” he said.

A further complication would face producers who also grow crops such as coffee on mixed farms if both are not suited to the new location, he added. 

Analysis of climate change shows large parts of Central America and Brazil having experienced a temperature increase between 1950 and 2000, Gálvez pointed out. Large parts of Central America have also seen a decrease in rainfall, though that trend is less clear cut, while there has been a slight drop in ground humidity in the same region.

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