ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The main topic of our morning news meeting was this: "Are bananas about to become extinct?" This story has been out there for several months, but many people had not heard about it.
The problem is a strain of fungus that is destroying banana crops across Asia and it’s making it’s way around the globe. At issue, are the Cavendish bananas. Those are much of what we see in stores here in the U.S. Scientists say it takes several years for that disease to take root in the plants, but once it does the fruit will begin to decline. Researchers are working to contain the fungus but are not having much luck at this point. Some of the most dire predictions are that bananas could become rare or extinct in the next 5 years.
You may have also heard about the problems with the Florida citrus industry. The issue with oranges in the Sunshine State is a condition called citrus greening. That is a fungus that affects tropical fruits. The fruit looks fine on the outside, but is rotten inside. Many of the deserted groves in Florida are the result of declining fruit health due to citrus greening. You see plenty of deserted groves in Florida these days; many times it’s because of the greening.
And then you have the granddaddy of them all, chocolate could also be extinct. Experts say the chocolate supply could run out as early as 2020 because cocoa supplies around the world are shrinking. There are several reasons for that, but replacement products could be developed. That will come at a cost though. Economists say that even if chocolate doesn’t entire go away it certainly will be more expensive in the next decade.