Climate Change's New Vital Crop: Bananas

Warming to force farmers to switch away from spuds

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 31, 2012 1:08 AM CDT | Updated Nov 3, 2012 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – As the planet gets warmer, farmers are going to have to give up on certain crops and people are going to have to get used to radically changed diets, according to a new report. Agricultural experts predict that harvests of maize, rice, and wheat are set to fall in many developing countries. The potato grows best in cooler climates and experts believe the banana will become a vital source for millions as farmers in many areas are forced to switch crops, the BBC reports.

The banana is "not necessarily a silver bullet but there may be places where as temperatures increase, bananas might be one option that smallholders could start to look at," one of the report's authors says. Other crops expected to play a more important role in the world's food supply in years to come are cassava, which is tough enough to cope with most climate conditions, and the drought-tolerant cowpea, a source of protein known as "the poor man's meat" in sub-Saharan Africa.

A Nigerian woman processes cassava root into flour.
A Nigerian woman processes cassava root into flour.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)
A Sri Lankan woman attends to a banana plant outside her residence .
A Sri Lankan woman attends to a banana plant outside her residence .   (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Many farmers are going to have start planting bananas instead of potatoes, experts say.
Many farmers are going to have start planting bananas instead of potatoes, experts say.   (Cat Quinn)
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