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Banana industry on alert for disease

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LA GUAJIRA, Colombia—It might not be obvious at the supermarket, but the banana industry is fighting to protect the most popular variety of the fruit from a destructive fungus.

A disease that ravages banana crops has made its long-dreaded arrival in Latin America, the biggest exporter of the crop.

That's reigniting worries about the global market's dependence on a single type of banana, the Cavendish.

For years, scientists have said big banana companies would eventually need to find new banana varieties as the disease spread.

Then this month, the fungus was confirmed in Colombia, a major exporter, prompting officials in the country to declare a state of emergency.

Banana industry watchers say it's more proof the Cavendish's days are numbered, but that there's still plenty of time to find alternatives.

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