Re: Marketing bananas in the US
As far as my soil goes you would almsot have to feel it and see it for yourself to understand how good it is. The gypsum is used in clay to keep it from crusting and it provides some calcium. My soil is about 40% organic matter, 10 percent sand, and 50 percent clay. This combination of components makes a soil that drains really well, holds water really well, and provides most of the necessary nutrition.
As far as black sigatoka goes in Florida, most commercial growers are growing varieties that don't have big problems with sigatoka. At 70 plants I may actually have the largest Cavendish planting in the state, and I am very isolated and have not seen and sigatoka yet. At my house which is a much smaller planting, there is plenty of sigatoka and I control it through sanitation(detrashing), copper, and azoxystrobin. Nevertheless, the bulk of Florida's commercial industry is Manzano, Burro, Nam Wah, and I imagine there are some plantings of Hua Moa left. I think sigatoka is relatively easy to control on those varieties compared to cavendish.
Some people go bananas, I went plantains.