Bananas are at risk. What does that mean for the world?
At the Global Alliance Against TR4, our purpose is to bring together the world’s efforts to defeat TR4, a fungal disease jeopardizing bananas’ future. We’re a worldwide, multi-stakeholder community, uniting food brands, value chain companies, researchers, trade associations, financial services, the public sector and civil society. We recognize that TR4 is an urgent threat, and that we can fight it more effectively together than we ever could alone. As the Global Alliance, we’re co-ordinating research and training efforts at every stage, from the lab to the plantation. And we’re raising funds and awareness through our business and public engagement campaign, The Banana Action Group.
Uniting the world to save bananas
Securing bananas’ future isn’t just possible. It’s essential. Because bananas are more than a fruit. They’re a globally important source of nutrition, personal income, and trade. As a staple food, bananas meet the nutritional needs of 400 million people. And as a year-round export crop, they can provide as much three quarters of a farmer’s monthly income. That’s what we stand to lose, every time a banana plantation falls to TR4: food security, livelihoods, and supply chain resilience. So far, TR4 has infected plantations in 20 countries across three continents – and if we do nothing to stop it, its spread will only accelerate.
What is the Global Alliance Against TR4 doing about it? There are four core areas where we’re working to have an impact:
- Prevention and Training: Working with smallholders in affected areas to implement measures against TR4 – including good biosecurity practices, early identification and containment – and form ‘TR4-proof’ plantations.
- Breeding and Genetics: Using a toolbox of genetic innovations to identify and cultivate new TR4-resistant banana varieties for mass production, ultimately giving bananas a long-term future.
- Methods of Control: Developing control agents, diagnostic tools and detection methods with a wide range of sustainability benefits, including helping stop TR4.
Through these workstreams supported by our partners, we’re already active in some of the world’s largest and most susceptible banana-producing countries, helping make a real difference for banana producers, the land and the economy.
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Global Alliance Members
What we´ve achieved so far
Over 850 farmers given a dedicated training course on TR4 prevention, either digitally or in person
22,000 views for three online seminars aimed at small producers
4.2 million social campaign reach
Key producing areas including Ecuador and Central America successfully protected from the spread of TR4 so far
10 reference genome projects supported
7 sources of TR4 resistance identified
Facts about TR4
TR4 stands for Tropical Race 4 of the Fusarium oxysporum fungus. Tropical Race 1 virtually eradicated the previously dominant banana variety, the Gros Michel, in the 1960s
Today’s most popular export variety, the Cavendish, is susceptible to TR4 – in fact, there are no known TR4-resistant commercial varieties
There is no effective fungicidal treatment for TR4
TR4 can stay in soil for many years after infestation, meaning infected land is lost almost permanently
If we do nothing to stop TR4, we could lose 36 million tons of banana production by 2040, equating to a loss of $10bn a year
Support The Banana Action Group
Join the community of stakeholders working for the future of bananas. There are many membership, donation and partnership options to support our work. Just get in touch to request more information or a conversation about how you can get involved: