Caribbean banana producing countries have been warned that they need to work together to deal with the threat of the Tropical Race Four (TR4) of the Fusarium Wilt fungus that has been severely affecting Southeast Asia’s banana and plantain crops.
The disease has been detected outside of Asia and there are fears that the Caribbean banana industry is now at a severely high risk.
Speaking at a one-day workshop in Trinidad Wednesday consultant Dr. Luiz Perez-Vincente said that the disease affects not just bananas and plantain plantations but also the economy and food sustainability.
He told participants to the workshop held at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and organized by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that there was need to reinforce the importance of increased awareness to the disease.
Dr. Vicente said that whilst the TR4 Fusarium wilt disease is not yet present in the Caribbean, there is a need for cooperation in order to prevent the outbreak of the disease.
Meanwhile … Trinidad and Tobago FAO representative Barton Clarke stressed the importance of increased awareness of the Fusarium Wilt disease, adding that the responsibility for the prevention of the disease does not rest solely on members of the agricultural sector.