What the Foc!


One man’s meat etc. came to mind when the bad banana news broke. FOC –  the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp.cubense – has been found in Mozambique, obviously en route to KZN, where bananas are so popular, locals are fondly known as banana boys. The Independent today reports that “Scientists are ‘incredibly concerned’ for fate of banana as plagues and fungus infections spread across world’s supplies.” Seems that a double whammy of FOC and mealybugs is laying waste to monkey food. Global warming is being blamed for booming mealybug populations which is bad news for vines as the mealybug is a also vector for leaf roll virus.

IMG 1871 615x345 What the Foc!

While the mealybug (below) looks suspiciously like one of those Carmen curlers preferred by the Wine Lizard (another threat to SA wine) to keep his bolla erect, could it be the saviour for Pinotage, a cultivar whose favourite descriptors include “iron banana?” And that’s a positive attribute, by the way.

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Prices of bananas are set to skyrocket as supplies from Costa Rica and Mozambique collapse, which may open up an opportunity for Pinotage producers to hike prices to banana addicts. Perhaps ABSA Bank, long time sponsor of the Pinotage Association, can help with alternative employment for banana benders, those tasked with putting the bend into bananas, now faced with mass unemployment.