Interesting article from The Week:
Staking the fate of a fruit on monoculture is dangerous in the extreme. It's only a matter of time before some bug or fungus strikes, and many experts believe that strike is coming very soon. Already, plantations in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere have been wiped out by a new strain of Panama disease known as Tropical Race 4. The disease is highly contagious, and earlier this year, further cases of TR4 were confirmed in Australia. Ecuador and Costa Rica, the largest banana exporters in the world, are one contaminated boot away from an epidemic. And unlike in the 1950s, there is no successor, no banana variety that lives up to the taste, transportability, and ability to grow in monoculture. With no variety to take its place, the banana as we know it could be commercially defunct.
Perhaps most terrifyingly, this problem isn't limited to bananas. The same way bananas are facing an epidemic, so is agriculture at large. Our focus on growing food in homogeneous blocks of land, as if they were giant outdoor manufacturing plants, is a natural process with nature taken out of the equation. And while there are many who believe in the power of technology to help put food on our tables, it is perhaps far past time we started to question the assumption that this is the only way to feed the world.
It would be nice to think that the large corporations who own the plantations producing bananas are looking into new systems and considering intercropping, organic methods, or agroforestry — but they aren't. The same economies of scale that promoted monoculture fit hand-in-glove with exploited labor, environmental degradation, and excessive amounts of pesticides.