Australian Embassy

Is the Banana under threat of extinction?

Media Release

19 June 2012

Is the Banana under threat of extinction?

The Australian Embassy and the Indonesian Academy of Sciences hosted a lecture by expert biotechnologist Professor James Dale on 19 June 2012 titled, Banana for the 21st Centuries: Pushing Back the Threat of Extinction.

“I am proud to welcome Professor Dale to Indonesia, whose work demonstrates the scientific excellence we have in Australia,” said Australian Chargé d’Affaires, Dr David Engel. “I hope his research will inspire Indonesian scholars, agriculture and food technology scientists and strengthen research collaboration with Australia.”

Dr Jatna Supriatna, from the Indonesia Academy of Sciences, was confident that Professor Dale’s visit and lecture would strengthen the linkages and research collaboration between Indonesia and Australia.

Bananas are in the top ten food crops of the world. In the wet tropics and sub-tropics, bananas are a major staple food, a key component of diets and part of local cultures. Bananas are indigenous to Indonesia as well as other parts of South East Asia, Papua New Guinea and northern Australia.

Despite this importance, the existence of bananas as a major world food crop is under threat, not from loss of environment as with most extinctions, but from diseases. The bananas in Indonesia are under the same threats as elsewhere but through international scientific collaboration and cooperation, these threats can be pushed back.

Professor James Dale is Director of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities at Queensland University of Technology who incorporates Tropical Crop Biotechnology, the Syngenta Centre for Sugarcane Biofuels Development and Sugar Research and Innovation (SRI). In 2004, Professor Dale was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) for services to agricultural biotechnology. In 2008, Professor Dale was appointed as the second Distinguished Professor for the Queensland University of Technology.

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Ray Marcelo, Counsellor (Public Affairs) tel. (021) 2550 5290 mob. 0811 187 3175