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Aug 1, 2019

BAHA on Alert for Disease that Can Wipe Out Banana Industry

There is an alert tonight in the banana industry in the south. The Belize Agriculture Health Authority informs of a suspected detection of Fusarium wilt of bananas in La Guajira Province in Colombia. The disease is devastating and can potentially wipe out the industry.  If infected, banana plants die and the disease spreads quickly within the farms.  BAHA, the Ministry of Agriculture and partner organizations have met with stakeholders in the industry to devise a plan to safeguard the local farms. The Quarantine Department is placing shoe disinfection mats for arriving visitors from countries where the disease has been detected.  The Department will also carry out surveillance programmes for early detection and then eradication.  BAHA advises all travelers to keep away from farms overseas and to inform the department at the points of entry of Belize if they did so.  The department is also asking the public to avoid importing into Belize bananas or heliconia planting material and articles made of banana paper or any plant tissues.  The disease originates in South East Asia but has spread to Mozambique, Jordan, Israel and Australia.  Its detection in Colombia puts the industry at risk and can have significant ramifications to the economy.  The banana industry is valued at seventy-five million dollars and creates jobs for thousands.

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