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Panama Disease continues to threaten the bananas of the world

SANTO DOMINGO. In spite of the fact that bananas are one of the principal farm export crops of the Dominican Republic, with sales overseas of nearly US$300 million per year, and that this country is within the group that is under the threat of the Panama Disease, which affects this Musaceae, a government plan to stop this fungus from reaching the fertile Dominican lands is still not known.

Countries such as Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador also produce bananas, and have already elaborated their action plans to avoid the disease which affects the Musaceae, and threatens to eliminate all of the plantations in the world, reaches their farm areas.

Among the countries that currently have the disease, which is scientifically called Fusarium oxysporum (a soil fungus that can survive for 30 years without any hosts) are Afghanistan, Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Mozambique, Jordan and others which have suffered the loss of thousands of hectares of land planted in bananas.

Since 2010, the National Banana Corporation of Costa Rica (Corbana) and the banana industry of that country, have been very preoccupied over the threat that is represented by the latest variant of Fusarium, called Tropical Race 4 (TR4), which has evolved, and which impacts the varieties of bananas which have been resistant to the prior legions of the Fusarium fungus.

A presentation by Mauricio Guzman, the coordinator of plant pathology for Corbana, indicates that this entity has alerted the plant health authorities of Costa Rica and Latin America and the Caribbean (ALC) and has promoted several actions of information and prevention.

Also, as well, another presentation by the Ministry of Farm Development of Panama (Mida), has been placed on the webpage of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and has reported that this country has taken important steps to avoid the arrival of the TR4 disease.

In the meantime the Dominican Republic, during a presentation offered in Rome gave a report on the production statistics of bananas by province, and stressed that Dominicans export 350,000 boxes of bananas each week.

During its presentation, the Dominican delegation reported that the Department of Plant Health of the Ministry of Agriculture has no reports of the presence of Fusarium.

Diario Libre tried to up obtain the opinion of the Minister of Agriculture in order to learn what the plans of the country were in order to avoid this disease from entering, but it was not possible to obtain it.

In the meantime, the president of the Dominican Association of Banana Producers (Adobanano), Elnio Duran, said that the producers and the government should work very hard on quarantine measures in order to avoid this disease from penetrating. “If it enters, the possibilities of saving ourselves are very slight, because it is very aggressive and very strong,” indicated the farmer.

Duran said that the quarantine measures are most important, to the extreme, he explained, of watching all the frontiers and all of the ships that come to the country .

The farm export leader said that he has met with the Minister of Agriculture in order to deal with this issue, and he explained that because of this disease, the authorities have become very watchful.

Mediterranean fruit fly affects DR

Last March, the news that the United States prohibited the entry into its territory of several fruits and vegetables from the Dominican Republic surprised several producers who already had their containers prepared for export. This measure which the United States took because it detected in a tourist area of the Dominican Republic, the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly), a plague which affects fruit trees and vegetables, dealt a serious blow to those exporters because from one day to the next they had lost their most important market.

Source: DiarioLibre

June 16, 2015

Category: DR News |

  1. Samson

    A serious problem that needs a solution and fast. May we know what the government is doing?

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