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Going Bananas Reading Answers: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jul 02, 2024, 11:57

In the IELTS Reading section, your reading comprehension skills are rigorously tested. Lasting for 60 minutes, this segment comprises three passages, each accompanied by a series of questions in various formats like multiple choice, matching headings, and True/False/Not Given. Success in this section hinges on your ability to grasp key information, discern main ideas, and infer meaning from context.

 

To ace the IELTS Reading section, adopt effective reading strategies such as skimming for main ideas and scanning for specific details. Regular practice with sample questions and exposure to different question types will sharpen your skills for test day.

 

Prepare for an enlightening exploration of "Going Bananas," an insightful look into the history, production, and significance of bananas in the global market. Delve into the economic impact, agricultural practices, and challenges facing banana cultivation through engaging passages and accompanying questions, enriching your understanding of how this ubiquitous fruit influences economies and diets worldwide.

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1. Going Bananas Reading Passage

You should spend approximately 20 minutes answering Questions 1 - 14 based on the Reading Passage below. This approach can help manage time effectively during a reading comprehension activity or exam. 

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2. Going Bananas Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Going Bananas

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1.

Going Bananas Reading Passage

General Information

  • Read Instructions: Understand each question before answering.
  • Manage Time: Spend about 20 minutes per passage.
  • Skim and Scan: Quickly get the main idea and find specific information.
  • Highlight Key Info: Underline essential words or phrases.
  • Answer All Questions: Attempt every question; no penalty for wrong answers.
  • Stay Focused: Avoid distractions and keep your attention on the task.
  • Check Spelling: Ensure correct spelling and grammar.
  • Transfer Answers Clearly: Write answers neatly on the answer sheet.
  • Don’t Dwell: Move on if stuck and return later.
  • Review: If time allows, review your answers.

 

 

 

 

 Going Bananas Reading Passage


 

 

Paragraph A 

The banana is among the world's oldest crops. Agricultural scientists believe that the first edible banana was discovered around ten thousand years ago. It has been at an evolutionary standstill ever since it was first propagated in the jungles of South-East Asia at the end of the last ice age. Normally the wild banana, a giant jungle herb called Musa acuminata, contains a mass of hard seeds that make the fruit virtually inedible. But now and then, hunter- gatherers must have discovered rare mutant plants that produced seedless, ed­ible fruits. Geneticists now know that the vast majority of these soft-fruited I plants resulted from genetic accidents that gave their cells three copies of each chromosome instead of the usual two. This imbalance prevents seeds and pol­len from developing normally, rendering the mutant plants sterile. And that is why some scientists believe the world’s most popular fruit could be doomed. It lacks the genetic diversity to fight off pests and diseases that are invading the banana plantations of Central America and the smallholdings of Africa and Asia alike.

 

Paragraph B

In some ways, the banana today resembles the potato before blight brought famine to Ireland a century and a half ago. But “it holds a lesson for other crops, too,” says Emile Frison, top banana at the International Network for the Im­provement of Banana and Plantain in Montpellier, France. “The state of the ba­nana,” Frison warns, “can teach a broader lesson: the increasing standardisation of food crops round the world is threatening their ability to adapt and survive.”

 

Paragraph C

The first Stone Age plant breeders cultivated these sterile freaks by replanting cuttings from their stems. And the descendants of those original cuttings are the bananas we still eat today. Each is a virtual clone, almost devoid of genetic diversity. And that uniformity makes it ripe for diseases like no other crop on Earth. Traditional varieties of sexually reproducing crops have always had a much broader genetic base, and the genes will recombine in new arrangements in each generation. This gives them much greater flexibility in evolving re­sponses to disease - and far more genetic resources to draw on in the face of an attack. But that advantage is fading fast, as growers increasingly plant the same few, high-yielding varieties. Plant breeders work feverishly to maintain resistance in these standardised crops. Should these efforts falter, yields of even the most productive crop could swiftly crash. “When some pest or dis­ease comes along, severe epidemics can occur,” says Geoff Hawtin, director of the Rome-based International Plant Genetic Resources Institute.

 

Paragraph D

The banana is an excellent case in point. Until the 1950s, one variety, the Gros Michel, dominated the world’s commercial banana business. Found by French botanists in Asia in the 1820s, the Gros Michel was by all accounts a fine banana, richer and sweeter than today’s standard banana and without the latter’s bitter aftertaste when green. But it was vulnerable to a soil fungus that produced a wilt known as Panama disease. “Once the fungus gets into the soil, it remains there for many years. There is nothing farmers can do. Even chemical spraying won’t get rid of it,” says Rodomiro Ortiz, director of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria. So planta­tion owners played a running game, abandoning infested fields and moving to “clean” land - until they ran out of clean land in the 1950s and had to abandon the Gros Michel. Its successor, and still the reigning commercial king, is the Cavendish banana, a 19th-century British discovery from southern China. The Cavendish is resistant to Panama disease and, as a result, it literally saved the international banana industry. During the 1960s, it replaced the Gros Michel on supermarket shelves. If you buy a banana today, it is almost certainly a Cavendish. But even so, it is a minority in the world’s banana crop.

 

Paragraph E

Half a billion people in Asia and Africa depend on bananas. Bananas provide the largest source of calories and are eaten daily. Its name is synonymous with food. But the day of reckoning may be coming for the Cavendish and its in­digenous kin. Another fungal disease, black Sigatoka, has become a global epi­demic since its first appearance in Fiji in 1963. Left to itself, black Sigatoka - which causes brown wounds on leaves and premature fruit ripening - cuts fruit yields by 50 to 70 per cent and reduces the productive lifetime of banana plants from 30 years to as little as 2 or 3. Commercial growers keep black Sigatoka at bay by a massive chemical assault. Forty sprayings of fungicide a year is typical. But despite the fungicides, diseases such as black Sigatoka are getting more and more difficult to control. “As soon as you bring in a new fun­gicide, they develop resistance,” says Frison. “One thing we can be sure of is that black Sigatoka won't lose in this battle.” Poor farmers, who cannot afford chemicals, have it even worse. They can do little more than watching their plants die. “Most of the banana fields in Amazonia have already been destroyed by the disease,” says Luadir Gasparotto, Brazil’s leading banana pathologist with the government research agency EMBRAPA. Production is likely to fall by 70 per cent as the disease spreads, he predicts. The only option will be to find a new variety.

 

Paragraph F

But how? Almost all edible varieties are susceptible to the diseases, so growers cannot simply change to a different banana. With most crops, such a threat would unleash an army of breeders, scouring the world for resistant relatives whose traits they can breed into commercial varieties. Not so with the ba­nana. Because all edible varieties are sterile, bringing in new genetic traits to help cope with pests and diseases is nearly impossible. Nearly, but not totally. Very rarely, a sterile banana will experience a genetic accident that allows an almost normal seed to develop, giving breeders a tiny window for improve­ment. Breeders at the Honduran Foundation of Agricultural Research have tried to exploit this to create disease-resistant varieties. Further back-crossing with wild bananas yielded a new seedless banana resistant to both black Sigatoka and Panama disease.

 

Paragraph G

Neither Western supermarket consumers nor peasant growers like the new hybrid. Some accuse it of tasting more like an apple than a banana. Not sur­prisingly, the majority of plant breeders have till now turned their backs on the banana and got to work on easier plants. And commercial banana companies are now washing their hands of the whole breeding effort, preferring to fund a search for new fungicides instead. “We supported a breeding programme for 40 years, but it wasn't able to develop an alternative to the Cavendish. It was very expensive and we got nothing back,” says Ronald Romero, head of research at Chiquita, one of the Big Three companies that dominate the international banana trade.

 

Paragraph H

Last year, a global consortium of scientists led by Frison announced plans to sequence the banana genome within five years. It would be the first edible fruit to be sequenced. Well, almost edible. The group will actually be sequen­cing inedible wild bananas from East Asia because many of these are resistant to black Sigatoka. If they can pinpoint the genes that help these wild varieties to resist black Sigatoka, the protective genes could be introduced into labora­tory tissue cultures of cells from edible varieties. These could then be propa­gated into new disease-resistant plants and passed on to farmers.

 

Paragraph I

It sounds promising, but the big banana companies have, until now, refused to get involved in GM research for fear of alienating their customers. “Biotech­nology is extremely expensive and there are serious questions about consumer acceptance,” says David McLaughlin, Chiquita’s senior director for environmental affairs. With scant funding from the companies, the banana genome researchers are focusing on the other end of the spectrum. Even if they can identify the crucial genes, they will be a long way from developing new varieties that smallholders will find suitable and affordable. But whatever biotechnology’s academic interest, it is the only hope for the banana. Without it, banana pro­duction worldwide will head into a tailspin. We may even see the extinction of the banana as both a lifesaver for hungry and impoverished Africans and the most popular product on the world’s supermarket shelves.

2.

Going Bananas Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Going Bananas

Questions and Answers 1-3
  • Complete the sentences below with NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
  • Write your answers in boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet.

 

 

1. Banana was first eaten as a fruit by humans almost ........................... years ago.

2. Banana was first planted in ...........................

3. Wild banana’s taste is adversely affected by its ...........................

 

 

Going Bananas Reading Answers with Explanations (1-3)

 

Type of question: Sentence Completion

 

To answer sentence completion questions accurately, read the given sentence carefully and identify the missing word or phrase. Then, consider the context to determine the most suitable answer option that completes the sentence appropriately. Choosing the option that best fits the context will help you answer sentence completion questions accurately.

 

How to best answer the question

 

  • Carefully read the incomplete sentence and try to understand what information is missing.
  • Pay attention to the context and any clues provided in the sentence or the surrounding text.
  • Choose the option that best completes the sentence based on the information from the reading passage.

 

 

1. ten thousand

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph A

Agricultural scientists believe that the first edible banana was discovered around ten thousand years ago.

 

Explanation

This line explicitly states the timeframe when humans first ate bananas as a fruit.


 

2. South-East Asia

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph A

It has been at an evolutionary standstill ever since it was first propagated in the jungles of South-East Asia at the end of the last ice age.
 

Explanation

This line indicates that bananas were first planted in South-East Asia.


 

3. hard seeds

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph A

Normally the wild banana, a giant jungle herb called Musa acuminata, contains a mass of hard seeds that make the fruit virtually inedible.
 

Explanation

This line explains that the presence of hard seeds makes wild bananas taste adversely affected, rendering them virtually inedible.

Questions and Answers 4-10
  • Look at the statements (Questions 4-10) and the list of people.
  • Match each statement with the correct person A-F.
  • Write the correct letter A-F in boxes 4-10 on your answer sheet.

 

 

4. A pest invasion may seriously damage banana industry.
5. The effect of fungal infection in soil is often long-lasting.
6. A commercial manufacturer gave up on breeding bananas for disease-resistant
7. Banana disease may develop resistance to chemical sprays.
8. A banana disease has destroyed a large number of banana plantations.
9. Consumers would not accept genetically altered crops.
10. Lessons can be learned from bananas for other crops.

 

List of People

 

A.  Rodomiro Ortiz
B.  David McLaughlin
C.  Emile Frison
D.  Ronald Romero
E.   Luadir Gasparotto
F.   Geoff Hawtin

 

Going Bananas Reading Answers with Explanations (4-10)

 

Question Type:  Matching Information

 

Matching Information questions in the IELTS Reading test require you to find specific details within a passage and match them to the appropriate paragraph. These questions test your ability to locate and understand specific information quickly. You will be given a list of statements and asked to identify the paragraph (labeled A, B, C, etc.) in which each piece of information is found.
 

How to best answer the question:

 

  • Quickly skim through the passage to get a general idea of the content and structure. 
  • Read the statements carefully. Underline or highlight key terms or phrases that will help you identify the relevant information in the passage.
  • Go through each paragraph systematically and match it with the statement that best fits the content. 


 

4. F

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph C
"When some pest or disease comes along, severe epidemics can occur," says Geoff Hawtin, director of the Rome-based International Plant Genetic Resources Institute.
 

Explanation

Geoff Hawtin highlights the risk of severe epidemics caused by pests, indicating the potential damage to the banana industry.

 

 

5. A

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph D

Once the fungus gets into the soil, it remains there for many years. There is nothing farmers can do. Even chemical spraying won’t get rid of it," says Rodomiro Ortiz.
 

Explanation

Rodomiro Ortiz explains the persistent and long-lasting nature of fungal infections in the soil.


 

6. D

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph G

We supported a breeding programme for 40 years, but it wasn't able to develop an alternative to the Cavendish. It was very expensive and we got nothing back," says Ronald Romero, head of research at Chiquita.
 

Explanation

Ronald Romero mentions that Chiquita gave up on the breeding program due to its lack of success and high cost.


 

7. C

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph E

As soon as you bring in a new fungicide, they develop resistance," says Frison.
 

Explanation

Emile Frison discusses how banana diseases can develop resistance to chemical sprays.


 

8. E

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph E
"Most of the banana fields in Amazonia have already been destroyed by the disease," says Luadir Gasparotto.
 

Explanation

Luadir Gasparotto reports the widespread destruction of banana fields in Amazonia due to disease.


 

9. B

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph I
"Biotechnology is extremely expensive and there are serious questions about consumer acceptance," says David McLaughlin.
 

Explanation

David McLaughlin raises concerns about consumer acceptance of genetically altered crops.


 

10. C

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph B

"The state of the banana," Frison warns, "can teach a broader lesson: the increasing standardisation of food crops round the world is threatening their ability to adapt and survive."
 

Explanation

Emile Frison suggests that the situation with bananas provides a broader lesson for other crops regarding the dangers of standardisation.

Questions and Answers 11-13
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?
In boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet, write

  • TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
  • FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
  • NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this in the passage

 

 

11. Banana is the oldest known fruit.

12. Gros Michel is still being used as a commercial product.

13. Banana is the main food in some countries.

 

Going Bananas Reading Answers with Explanations (11-13)

 

Question Type:  True/False/Not Given

 

In this task, you are presented with a statement, and your task is to determine if it agrees with the information in the passage (True), contradicts the information in the passage (False), or if there is insufficient information in the passage to decide (not given).
 

How to best answer the question:

 

  • Read the statement carefully to ensure you understand exactly what it is saying. 
  • Pay attention to details such as dates, numbers, and specific information.
  • Scan the passage to find the section where the relevant information is likely to be located. 
  • Focus on finding evidence that either supports or contradicts the statement.
  • True: If the statement agrees with the information in the passage.
  • False: If the statement contradicts the information in the passage.
  • Not Given: If there is no information in the passage that confirms or contradicts the statement.


 

11. Not Given

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph 

NA
 

Explanation
The passage states that bananas are among the world's oldest crops, but it does not specifically say that they are the oldest known fruit.


 

12. False

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph D

Until the 1950s, one variety, the Gros Michel, dominated the world’s commercial banana business.

 

Explanation

The passage explains that the Gros Michel was abandoned in the 1950s and replaced by the Cavendish banana, indicating it is no longer used commercially.


 

13. True

 

Reference:

 

Paragraph E

Half a billion people in Asia and Africa depend on bananas. Bananas provide the largest source of calories and are eaten daily.

 

Explanation

The passage states that bananas are a major source of calories and a daily staple for many people in Asia and Africa, implying it is the main food in some countries.

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FAQs

Q. Do I lose marks for incorrect answers in the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. No, there is no penalty for incorrect answers in the IELTS Reading test. This means attempting all questions is beneficial, even if you're unsure. You may still earn points for correct responses by making educated guesses, improving your overall score.

Q. Can I write on the question paper during the test?

Ans. Yes, you are allowed to write on the question paper during the IELTS Reading test. This can be a helpful strategy for keeping track of key information, identifying important details, and organising your thoughts as you read the passages. You can underline relevant points, circle keywords, or make brief notes to aid in answering the questions later.

Q. How can I prepare effectively for the IELTS Reading test?

Ans. To prepare effectively for the IELTS Reading test, start by familiarising yourself with the test format and question types. Practice with sample questions and past papers to develop your skills in skimming for main ideas, scanning for specific details, and understanding complex passages. Work on expanding your vocabulary by reading various texts and noting down unfamiliar words. Additionally, practice time management to ensure you can complete the test within 60 minutes.