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Climate change will make bananas more expensive. Here's why some experts say they should be already.

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London — Industry experts say the price of bananas globally is very likely to rise due to the impact of climate change — but some believe paying more for bananas now could mitigate those risks. 

Industry leaders and academics gathered this week in Rome for the World Banana Forum issued a warning over the impact climate change is having on production and supply chains on a global scale. But some also suggested that price hikes on grocery store shelves now could help prepare the countries where the fruit is grown to deal with the impacts of the warming climate.

As temperatures increase beyond optimal levels for banana growth, there's a heightened risk of low yields, Dan Bebber, a British professor who's one of the leading academics on sustainable agriculture and crop pathogens, told CBS News on Tuesday from Rome.

A woman chooses bananas at a supermarket in Nanning, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Sept. 7, 2023. Hu Xingyu/Xinhua/Getty

"Producers like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica, will see a negative impact of rising temperatures over the next few decades," he said. Some other countries, including major banana producer Ecuador, currently appear to be in a "safe space" for climate change, he added.

Aside from growing temperatures, climate change is also helping diseases that threaten banana trees spread more easily, in particular the TR4 fungus. It's been described by the forum as one of the "most aggressive and destructive fungi in the history of agriculture."

"Once a plantation has been infected, it cannot be eradicated. There is no pesticide or fungicide that is effective," Sabine Altendorf, an economist focused on global value chains for agricultural products at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told CBS News from the forum.

Increases in temperature and catastrophic spells of disease risk putting pressure on the supply chains of the fresh fruit, which drives up prices. But Bebber said consumers should be paying more for bananas now to prevent the issue from getting worse.

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Higher prices "will help those countries that grow our bananas to prepare for climate change, to put mitigation in place, to look after soils, to pay their workers a higher wage," he said. "Consumers have benefited from very, very cheap bananas over the past few decades. But it's not really a fair price, so that is really something that needs to be looked at."

Altendorf agreed, saying growers were producing the popular fruit "at very, very low prices, and are earning very low incomes, and in the face of the threat of climate change and all these increasing disasters, that is, of course, costly to deal with."

"Higher prices will actually not make a big difference at the consumer end, but will make a large difference along the value chain and enable a lot more environmental sustainability," she said.

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