When Robert Vadra called India a banana republic in 2012, he was not off the mark — this country accounts for a third of total production of the fruit and is the world’s largest republic. China is the world’s second-largest producer of bananas and its official name claims it’s a republic.
Ecuador grows less but exports the most bananas, and has been a republic for the last 40 years. But as the world is going bananas about the spread of the fungus named Tropical Race 4 (TR4) particularly in South America over the last few years, the positions of all three banana republics are clearly in danger.
If recent reports are to be believed, actor Rahul Bose being charged Rs 442.50 last month for a couple of bananas may become the norm if the incurable blight is not contained. In that case, Bose’s bill may go down in history as the earliest documentary indication of the End of Bananas.
The world’s earlier top banana Gros Michel was toppled by Cavendish (both named by an accident of history) as the largest cultivar under production also due to the former’s susceptibility to TR4. As over half of India’s bananas are Cavendish or its local clones, and considering the world apparently got hooked on to bananas after Alexander the Great fell for (not on) the fruit in India, this one-banana problem’s solution should also emerge from here.