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Oct 4, 2019

Deadly Banana & Plantain Fungi Threat Detected in Colombia; CARICOM Plans

Another issue that was discussed and recommendations put forward for the region to monitor is a soil fungi that devastates crops like bananas, plantains and related species.  The fungi called the Fusarium T.R.-Four can wipe out fields and can remain active in soils for more than twenty years. Back in the eighties it was detected in Taiwan and has since spread throughout Asia.  Six years ago it was detected in Africa and four years ago it was confirmed in Oceania. The latest detection puts it closer to the region with the T.R.-Four detected in Colombia. There are no treatments or control options for the Fusarium. If it enters the region, it is forecasted to have devastating impacts on commercial and backyard banana and plantain productions, which will impact national economies, as well as rural income and food security.  CARICOM member countries have discussed the implementation of strategies to keep the disease out of the region. Here’s more from Minister of Agriculture Godwin Hulse.

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“Coming out of this also was a declaration on Race four, which is a wilting disease that affects bananas. It is ground transmitted as we understand it so, so we in Belize have already instituted some biosecurity measures with respect to that.  In the case of the race four, which is a banana disease, the implementation has already begun at the farm level where farmers are instituting their own bio-security measures. To make it simple for the listening public, it is spraying down your truck, spraying your shoes, dipping it in whatever solution etc, because it is a soil borne disease making sure you don’ t take it on to the farm. If we can maintain that we can be fairly ok.”


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