We hear this rumor every year: the variety of banana that we love eating is going extinct. And for the most part, that's true. The Cavendish banana is going away.
The previous "everyday eating" banana regions outside of banana-producing zones (the Gros Michael) was wiped out by a fungus in the 1950s, when the Cavendish replaced it, which you can read more about here. But now the Cavendish is being ravaged by a fungus, and there's nothing to be done about it.
This isn't a new thing (it's come up over the last few years) but it is something that is still spreading. It's reached Australia, and will probably hit Africa and the Americas soon, too, due to how easily it spreads ( on dirt clinging to shoes, truck tires and shipping containers).
Why are the bananas so susceptible?
Because bananas are made from clippings rather than seeds. Much like apples (whose seeds often produce fruit with random, poor characteristics), every banana you've had of a certain type is genetically a clone (or close to a clone) of another. So if one is susceptible, they are all likely susceptible. Actually, where as GMOs get a really bad rap, they're great for helping create stronger varieties in situations like this.
Either the Cavendish will be replaced with a more hardy variety of banana, or, a new resistant strain of the Cavendish will need to be developed.
Bye bye bananas?