Honduras: Banana production down 40%

Currently, Honduras exports about 20 million cases of bananas and these delivered revenues of $458.3 million dollars in 2013. Only ten years ago these shipments exceeded 40 million cases. Which means that there’s something seriously wrong with the banana in that Caribbean country.

The problem is that the Hondurese plantations were created by a system of agriculture which is ominously called ‘slash and burn’. It is the process of cutting down the vegetation in a particular plot of land, setting fire to the remaining foliage and using the ashes to provide nutrients to the soil for use of planting food crops.
The cleared area can only be used for a relatively short period of time, then the soil is exhausted of its nutrients and should then left be alone for a longer period of time so that vegetation can regenerate itself and the soil.

In Honduras, the soil of the banana plantations is depleted and compacted. In the olden days, the giant American corporations simply bribed a government official and got hold of a new stretch of jungle to start over again. Now, to get hold of new land, the Honduran companies are in urgent need of over $30 million dollars within the following four or five years to reactivate the crop.

It may not be quite enough or even quickly enough because Panama Disease is on its way.

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