Climate change may boost bananas over potatoes
Global warming may make bananas easier to grow where potatoes are now
Bananas could be set to become the new potatoes, as global warming affects growing patterns around the world, a new report on world agriculture suggests.
Rising temperatures in some places may improve the productivity of bananas, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research says. At the same time, climate change could be bad news for potatoes in many areas, because they prosper in cooler climates.
"Warmer winters, especially, may provide an opening for bananas in places that currently grow potatoes," the report says. "Warmer weather can also reduce the time between planting and harvest for bananas, further increasing production."
While potatoes are the planet's fourth-largest food crop and are suited to cooler climates, more than half of them are grown in countries such as India and China.
Not a silver bullet
With warmer temperatures, the report suggests, there could be an opening for more banana production at higher altitudes, providing there is sufficient rainfall.
"It's not necessarily a silver bullet, but there may be places where as temperatures increase, bananas might be one option that small-holders could start to look at," Philip Thornton, one of the people behind the report, told BBC News.
Still, a lot will depend on the availability of water, and "extensive research needs to formulate targeted, region-by-region approaches that recalibrate agricultural production according to the effects of climate change," the report says.
Crop yields of grains such as corn and wheat may suffer as the world warms, sending prices higher and making warmer-climate crops more attractive.