Transformations. The contamination of the French west Indies for seven hundred years by chlordecone is not a “crisis” in health after the contaminated blood, mad cow, or even asbestos. It is therefore almost logical of the plantation economy.
The banana is the product of agro-industrial perfect : the plantations are composed of clones to infinity. The bananas that we eat are all genetically identical, and it is for this that they always taste the same. If there are nearly a thousand species of bananas, a particular species, the cavendish, because it keeps well in the transport, was chosen in the 1950s by large corporations such as United Fruit.
It currently represents 97 per cent of banana exports. The genetic homogeneity of the plantations provides a field of experimentation extraordinary for the evolution… and a feast great for plant diseases and their vectors, pathogens.
The american historian John Soluri (Banana Cultures, University of Texas Press, 2005) describes very well the race without end, and lost in advance, between the chemical treatments and the pathogens that they are supposed to eliminate (weevil of banana, nematodes, and other fungi). Prior to the 1940s, growers used bordeaux mixture – expensive because intensive labour – or leave the land infected. The passage in 1950 of the species of gros michel to the cavendish does not rule no problem.
War and agriculture
What really changes the game, it’s the gas of the fight. The first world war highlights the properties of insecticides and fungicides chlorinated organic compounds. As early as 1916, the chemist Fritz Haber (1868-1934), the inventor of gas combat German, collaborates with the agronomists to test different molecules in the fields. Symbol of the alliance between war and agriculture, as early as the 1920s,…