The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned Caribbean banana producing countries to be on their guard against the introduction of the fusarium wilt disease. This is known as the most destructive to the banana industry.
The FAO says that the disease has already spread from Asia to Africa and the Middle-East, and is now in the Americas.
To raise awareness, the FAO said the issue will be on the agenda of a series of upcoming meetings with the aim of addressing a range of issues related to TR4, including developing action plans for its prevention, monitoring and containment.
The FAO says that Bunchy Top Disease (BBTD) and Fusarium Wilt, Fusarium’s soil-borne nature makes it “especially challenging” for the crop. It says that banana is the eighth most important food crop in the world and the fourth most important food crop among the world’s least-developed countries, including the Caribbean.
It said the TR4 trace of the disease – also known as Panama disease – is posing a serious threat to production and export of the popular fruit, with grave repercussions for the banana value chain and livelihoods.