May 4th, 2006 15:36 EST
UN group worried about decrease in wild bananas overseas
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on Wednesday spoke with worries of the decreasing number of wild bananas in their original home, asking for a systematic exploration of the wild bananas remaining in India and Southeast Asia.
They also asked for plans to balance the loss of natural habitat and research, as well as increasing the use of wild bananas in breeding programs.
India, the world's largest banana grower, has an annual production of almost 17 million tons, which accounts for one fifth of total world output.
"The Indian subcontinent has made an enormous contribution to the global generic base of bananas," FAO Agricultural Officer NeBambi Lutaladio said.
"But to ecosystem destruction, it is probable that many valuable gene sources have now been lost. That could cause serious problems because bananas, particularly commercial varieties, have a narrow genetic pool and are highly vulnerable to pests and diseases."
Source: UN News Centre
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