“Yes, we have no bananas?” Not quite yet, but experts are concerned about the growth of pestilences that could threaten the banana industry.
Increases in the populations of insects that cause cosmetic damage to bananas is problematic, but a specific fungus has raised further concerns among experts. Fusarium oxysporum f. sp.cubense (Foc) is especially damaging to the main type of banana grown for commercial cultivation, with the potential, if uncontrolled, to cause economic damage to the industry. Bananas are sown from cuttings of existing plants, not from seed, and this ‘cloning’ makes them genetically weak.
The Fusarium fungus was typically found in parts of Asia and Australia, but has spread to the Middle East and Africa. Banana producers are very afraid the fungus will reach Latin America, from which the majority of the world’s banana supply comes (Adam Withnall, “Scientists ‘Incredibly Concerned’ for Fate of Banana as Plagues and Fungus Infections Spread Across World’s Supplies,” The Independent at Independent.co.uk, December 16, 2013).
Sounds like a trivial subject—no more bananas as an after-school snack! But pestilences that impact the cultivation of food sources have far reaching consequences. When an industry collapses many people are affected, from those that grow the food all the way to the people who stock the shelves of the grocery stores.
Hunger in Scripture
Throughout the Bible are instances when food shortages have affected the outcome of events. Jacob and his sons had to flee to Egypt to avoid famine and as a result, Israel became enslaved, only to be delivered by God through the leadership of Moses.
Naomi and her family fled Judea because of famine. They lived in the nation of Moab, and yet, if they hadn’t gone, Ruth the Moabitess would not have met Boaz, and become the great-grandmother of King David.
In the events leading up to the return of Jesus Christ, famine and pestilence will again play an important role. To learn more, please read The Book of Revelation Unveiled and Are We Living in the Time of the End?, and see how God allows times of scarcity to shape the direction of history.