Thursday, March 23, 2006

Don't do it for yourself - do it for the children!

I know selfish interests may come into it. Wanting bananas to be available in the shop, have them at a reasonable price, and wanting to help Innisfail get back on its feet. But think of the hundreds of thousands of children in Australia that rely on the humble banana for sustenance! It is one of the few "fruits" in existence that have quantities of all necessary vitamins. By refusing imports we deny these children healthy meals for several months. I know we could ration them out or let prices skyrocket such that the desparate can still get the local product, pricing everyone else out of the market, but surely there is a better way. Banana growing families in the Phillippines (etc.) need to feed their children as well. Wouldn't it be better to buy their bananas at this stage rather than doling out aid?

THINK OF ALL THE CHILDREN - Free trade in bananas can help them all!


winstoninabox said...

Yeah, free Nelson Bananadela ya' citrus supremacist sons of bitches.

Jenny said...

I don't know whether the banana farmers are only worried about the precedent that allowing other banana's in the country will have to the whole banana price/free trade issue. But there may be a case for quarantine.

Bananas are, unlike just about everything else we eat, clonally produced. They do not have the genetic variation of just about everything else. Thus all examples of each strain are equally susceptable to disease and predators .

See following for debunking of "they're all going to die" myth, but explanation of risks of imports.

Should something like that get into Australia, it could wipe out our viability as a producer of those strains in the long term, or cost us a lot to deal with and affect our export potential.

Marco said...

This is all well and good, but as far as I can understand it, the risks of imports are actually much less than other risks of getting these diseases into Australia. Comparative risk analysis is very poorly understood by the general public, and even most scientists have trouble. Basically, (as I understand it) if you purposefully grab a typical banana from any country in the world, mulch it up or otherwise spread it into a banana plantation, there is still almost no risk of diseased plants. However, if a banana plantation worker immigrant brings his own boots, finds a plantation job in Australia, and doesn't quite wash his boots properly, there is a more significant risk. Besides, potential consumers of imported bananas are all down south, while all the producers are all up here where buying or stocking an imported banana is a well known taboo that will not be risked crossing.