XII International Symposium on Banana: Celebrating Banana Organic Production

The XII International Symposium on banana: Celebrating banana organic production was organized as part of the 31st International Horticultural Congress held in Angers, France, from 14 to 20 August 2022. The symposium took stock of recent developments in organic banana production and was attended by around 75 participants from across the world.

Keynote speakers

Session 1: Current state of organic production in the world: challenges and innovations

Helga Willer works at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Department of Extension, Training & Communication, where she leads the project communication group. She has been collecting and publishing key data on organic agriculture in the yearbook “The World of Organic Agriculture” since 2000. Recent developments include interactive online databases and visuals to make the data better accessible. The annual survey on organic agriculture covers land areas, including land use, production, retail sales and international trade. More than 180 countries contribute to the survey.
Keynote presentation: The state and evolution of organic fruit and vegetables: production and market at world scale (5.5 MB)

Carolina Dawson and Hans-Willem van der Waal
Carolina is an agricultural engineer and holds a master’s degree in Agribusiness. For more than 10 years she has worked at CIRAD, French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, where she holds the position of project manager and senior market analyst at the “Observatoire des Marchés et Innovations”. She is a specialist in the value chains of tropical fresh produce such as bananas, avocados, and citrus fruits, with a focus oriented towards international food trade, sustainable development and standards and certifications. One of her main fields of research is the international market of organic bananas, the results of her research have been the subject of various presentations at international conferences and publications.
Hans-Willem (1970) is CEO of AgroFair, the pioneer of the Fairtrade and organic banana. He joined AgroFair in 2008 after having worked six years in Africa. In Burkina Faso, he established a fresh mango export company, making it the country’s largest of its kind, specializing in organic and Fairtrade. Since he became CEO of AgroFair, the company grew to around $ 100 million sales of mainly Fairtrade and organic bananas, which are sourced from small-grower cooperatives in Peru, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. AgroFair is active in many European countries, as well as in Australasia. Based on this experience, he has a profound insight in the challenges and opportunities for the organic banana industry, the roles that small farmers can play, and of the themes that are relevant for the future development of a more socially and ecologically sustainable (organic) banana. Hans-Willem holds a BEng. in chemical engineering and an MSc in management science. He is currently working on a PhD in management science related to the Sustainable Development Goals. Other research interests are organic banana post-harvest issues.

Session 2: Organic nutrition (plant): experience, and new directions

Marc-André Selosse is professor at Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris), and at Universities of Kunming (China) and Gdansk (Poland). His research focuses on the ecology and evolution of mycorrhizas, a major symbiosis between soil fungi and roots of most land plants. He also has a general interest in symbiosis and its evolution. He was head of the French Botanical Society for ten years and is now president of the Fédération BioGée, member of the French Academy of Agriculture and editor of four international scientific journals: New Phytologist, Ecology Letters, Symbiosis and Botany Letter. All his papers (more than 190 scientific papers and 190 outreach papers) are downloadable at http://isyeb.mnhn.fr/en/directory/marc-andre-selosse-405. He has published 3 outreach books in French on microbiota  (Jamais seul, 2017), tannins (Les goûts et les couleurs du monde, 2019) and soil (L’origine du Monde, 2021). Website: https://isyeb.mnhn.fr/en/directory/marc-andre-selosse-405
Keynote presentation: How we can optimize the interaction of micro-organisms and plants in organic systems for better nutrition (3 MB)

Session 3: Challenges of pest and disease control without conventional pesticides

Luc de Lapeyre de Bellaire is a plant pathologist and has been working on fungal diseases of bananas for 35 years in the French West Indies, Latin America, and Africa. His main research topics are dedicated to agroecological protection of Sigatoka leaf spot diseases and to postharvest diseases of bananas (anthracnose and crown rot). Deeply convinced that a better understanding of epidemiological processes is the key to design alternative strategies to chemical control, he has dedicated his carrier to a holistic understanding of these processes in banana agrosystems in order to explore pioneering pesticide-free management strategies. He is presently the head of GECO, the Research Unit of Cirad (Montpellier, France) which is dedicated to ecological functioning and sustainable management of banana and pineapple agrosystems. He is author/co-author of more than 50 publications in international scientific indexed journals.

Keynote presentationChallenges of the management of pest and diseases in organic banana production: a holistic and realistic point of view (3.3 MB)

Session 4: Marketing organic bananas: The role of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on certification and emerging trends

Marike de Peña is a Sociologist in Agricultural Development from the Landbouw Wageningen University in the Netherlands and has devoted most of her life to bring change in favor of producers and Fairtrade. Since 1986 she has been based in the Dominican Republic, where she worked at the Dominican Land Reform Institute (IAD) training government staff on issues related to agriculture, as well as coordinating projects on organizational strengthening of small farmers. Since 2000 she has been the Managing Director of Banelino Cooperative, a successful Fair Trade banana cooperative from the Dominican Republic. Furthermore, Marike has been an active member of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC) for over 12 years, with an outstanding work around the region. Marike has played a key role in the governance of both CLAC and the Fairtrade System, as vice-president and president of their boards in the last decade.
Keynote presentation: Impact of private and public certification labels (ex. new rules for UE organic certification) with special emphasis for small producers (1.2 MB)

Oral Presentations


Session 1: Current state of organic production in the world: challenges and innovations

Pauline Pugeaux, Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny de Cocody, Ivory Coast
Mathieu Coulis, Cirad, France
Nicolas Roux, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, France
Louise Ecochard, Compagnie Frutière, Ghana
René Tokannou, Abomey Calavi Quartier Finafa, Benin

Session 2: Organic nutrition (plant): experience, and new directions

Navot Galpaz, Northern Research and Development, Israel
Soil fatigue in Israel: first steps in identifying causal agents and developing a mitigating cultivation protocol (1.5 MB)

Marc Dorel, Cirad, France
Mineral nutrition of banana in organic agriculture (875 KB)

Charles Staver, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico
An app to convert short-term weather data into indicators of banana performance potential: calculated versus field values in Dominican Republic (1.8 MB)

Walter Ocimati, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT,Uganda
Mushroom wastes as a manure source (1.1 MB)

Luiz Teixeira, Centro de Solos e Recursos Ambientais/Instituto Agronômico, Brazil
How to solve the problem of lack of foliar nutrient thresholds for other than conventional production systems? (1.5 MB)

Marie Ruillé, Cirad, France
Banana-n model: a dynamic model to simulate nitrogen balance in agroecological banana cropping systems (4.8 MB)

Mathilde Vantyghem, SWMCN Laboratory, IAEA Laboratories, Austria
Using δ13C of phloem sap as an indicator for short-term changes in leaf carbon isotope discrimination (2.4 MB)

Clara Gambart, KULeuven, Belgium
Exploring nitrogen use efficiency in Musa spp. (2.4 MB)

K.J. Jeyabaskaran, ICAR-National Research Centre for Banana, India
Optimising combinations of different nutrient sources for organic banana farming with respect to conventional farming (800 KB)

Session 3: Challenges of pest and disease control without conventional pesticides

Luud Clercx, AgroFair, The Netherlands
Containment of TR4 in smallholder production systems in Peru: Towards a territorial approach with support of digital mapping (3.5 MB)

Anicet G. Dassou, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Biosciences et Biotechnologies Appliquées (ENSBBA), Benin
Impact of Fusarium wilt race 1 on Silk ‘Sotoumon’ banana cultivars in Benin: Opportunities for organic fertilizers (2 MB)

Fréderic Salmon, Cirad, France
Banana breeding at Cirad: Creating resistant new varieties to avoid the use of pesticides (2 MB)

Hans-Willem Van der Waal, AgroFair, The Netherlands 
A machine learning algorithm to predict crown rot in organic bananas (4.5 MB)

Steewy Lakhia, Cirad, France
Alternative weed management in organic banana agrosystems (1.9 MB)

Alain Soler, Cirad UPR GECO, France
Systemic resistances of banana as a potential tool to control of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense race 1 (1.9 MB)

Luiz Teixeira, Centro de Solos e Recursos Ambientais/Instituto Agronômico, Brazil
Soil health research strategies for managing Fusarium wilt of banana in Brazil (3.9 MB)

Aman Omondi, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Benin
Tools for the management of the banana bunchy top disease in small holder systems (2.2 MB)

Sijun Zheng, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, China
Natural beneficial microorganisms for suppression of Fusarium wilt of banana and its promoting for organic production (3.2 MB)

Maricruz Ramírez-Sánchez
On the use of hot water treatment to control postharvest diseases of export grown banana fruit (Musa sp., Group AAA, subgroup Cavendish, cv. Williams) (1.5 MB)

Session 4: Marketing organic bananas: The role of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on certification and emerging trends

Katelyn Robertson, DAF, South Johnston, Australia
Tailoring Goldfinger for improved market prospects (5.6 MB)
Charles Staver, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico
Saskia van Ruth, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands
Going bananas: From risky businesses to latest authentication technologies (pdf not available)

Poster Presentations

Guy Blomme, Alliance Bioversity CIAT
Clara Gambart, KULeuven, Belgium
HP Singh, Confederation of Horticulture Associations, India
K.J. Jeyabaskaran, ICAR-National Research Centre for Banana, India
K.J. Jeyabaskaran, ICAR-National Research Centre for Banana, India
Catherine O. Esuola, National Horticultural Research Institute, Nigeria
Catherine O. Esuola, National Horticultural Research Institute, Nigeria
Charles Staver, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico
Isaac Ore Aiyelaagbe, University of Agriculture, Nigeria
Manon Rapetti, Vitropic SA- Cirad, France
Charles Staver, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico
Janvier Mugisho, l’Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
Charles Staver, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico
Yuko Krzyzaniak, Technical Institute for Tropical Crops, Martinique, France
Edson Amorim, EMBRAPA, Brazil
Luud Clercx, AgroFair, The Netherlands
Laure-Anne Menke, Merckens Development Support, Germany
Charles Staver, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico


The workshop was designed to ponder the question: Do we address research needs of organic producers sufficiently?
It was organized by Luc de Lapeyre de Bellaire and Hans-Willem Van der Waal and attended by around 25 participants.

Workshop objectives:

Organic bananas are important for social and ecological development and constitute a growing segment of the banana industry. The organic banana producers, small and large, are confronted with specific agronomic challenges and concerns that cannot be solved with existing solutions from conventional agriculture. There was therefore a need to develop a research agenda specifically for organic bananas that is aligned with the needs of the producers, making research more relevant for development.

Workshop description:

The workshop was held to better understand the needs of the professional organic banana producers by presenting the results of semi-structured interviews with 20-30 organic banana producers in different parts of the world, focusing on the agronomic challenges that they highlight. This was contrasted with the results from a concise bibliographic analysis. These two elements were briefly presented to kindle the discussion among the participants and the exchange of views, experiences, and initiatives. Questions to be discussed further were e.g. how the participants view the priorities indicated by producers, how results of scientific research relevant for producers can be shared, how an ongoing interaction between the research community and producers can take shape, which resources are needed, and which networks could be formed. The workshop was relevant for researchers and practitioners alike.


Symposium conveners

Walter Ocimati, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Uganda
Scientist on Production Ecology and Resource Conservation, his work focuses on banana/plantain agronomy and pest and disease management in the East and Central African region.
Thierry Lescot, Cirad, France
Agronomist working with banana & plantain, he is specialized on agronomy and cropping systems, varietal diversity, agro-ecology, pests and diseases management, etc. in multiple tropical countries and with multiple publications and expertises.

Scientific Committee

Thierry Lescot (convener)CIRADFrance
Walter Ocimati (convener)Alliance Bioversity-CIATUganda
Susan AjamboAlliance Bioversity-CIATUganda
Pierre BratCIRADFrance
Martha BolañosAgrosaviaColombia
Ana Lucia BorgesEmbrapaBrazil
Mathieu CoulisCIRADMartinique
Jeff DaniellsDepartment of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)Australia
Carolina DawsonCIRADFrance – Peru
Miguel DitaAlliance Bioversity-CIATColombia
Marc DorelCIRADGuadeloupe
Gustavo GandiniBANELINODominican Republic
Ludivine LassoisGembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Liège UniversityBelgium
Luc de Lapeyre de BellaireCIRADFrance
Anne LegreveUCL LouvainBelgium
Alain NormandCompagnie Fruitière InternationalFrance -Afrique
Tony PattisonDepartment of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)Australia
Jean-Michel RisèdeCIRADFrance
Juan Carlos RojasINIAPeru
Nicolas RouxAlliance Bioversity-CIATFrance
Frédéric SalmonCIRADFrance
Jorge SandovalCORBANACosta Rica
Marie SauvadetCIRADGuadeloupe
Charles Staverconsultant (ex Bioversity)USA
Godfrey TaulyaIITAUganda
Philippe TixierCIRADFrance
Hans-Willem van der WaalAGROFAIRNetherlands