Bananas and Plantains (Musa spp.)
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With a production of 145 million metric tons worldwide (worth 26.5 billion Euro), banana (Musa spp.) is one of the world’s most important staple food crops and arguably the world’s most popular fruit in terms of international trade (FAO 2014). Banana and plantains (Musa spp.), collectively referred to here as bananas, are grown in more than 135 countries and found in most tropical and subtropical regions around the world. While industrialized nations view banana primarily as a dessert item, many regions of the developing world consider cooking bananas and plantains as essential staples that contribute significantly to the caloric intake of low-income subsistence farmers. Although sensitivity to photoperiod has been noted in certain cultivars (Fortescue et al. 2011), banana is an almost nonseasonal crop that reliably provides a carbohydrate source year-round which makes it vitally important to both nutrition and food security.