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Banana Plague: Panama Imposes Restrictions

Because of the suspected presence of the pest known as "fusarium wilt" in Colombia, authorities in Panama banned the entry of materials derived from plantains and bananas from any country.

Tuesday, July 16, 201

The government reinforced quarantine control measures at airports, ports and borders, and categorically prohibited the entry into the country of any plantain or banana material suspected of carrying the fungus, according to the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA).

You may be interested in "Banana Plague Alert" and "Crops in Central America: Main Figures in 2018

From the MIDA statement:

Reinforcing quarantine control measures at airports, ports and borders and categorically prohibiting the entry into the country of any plantain and banana material that could carry the fearsome fungus Fusarium oxisporum, recently detected in the La Guajira area of Colombia, is part of the immediate measures of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA), to prevent it from entering the country and causing major damage to this important activity.

The National Director of Plant Health, Olegth Aguilar, said that producers and consumers should be reassured because there is a responsible institution that is taking all necessary measures to prevent the entry of this fungus that would be devastating to the country.

This is a disease caused by the fungus Fusarium cubense, destructive race, which was first detected in Taiwan in 1990, and is capable of destroying all forms of banana and plantain, which are known.

Read full statement (In Spanish).



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Banana Plague: More Restrictions in the Region

Following Panama's decision, the phytosanitary authorities in Guatemala and Costa Rica restricted the entry of banana and plantain-derived materials from any country because of the alert for the pest known as "wilt for fusarium.”

Thursday, July 18, 2019

In the case of Guatemala, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA) reported that as part of the protection and preservation of the regional agricultural heritage, the Guatemalan population and national banana and plantain producers were informed that Guatemala had activated prevention and warning measures to prevent the threat of Fusarium Oxysporum race 4 disease.

You may be interested in "Banana Plague Alert" and "Crops in Central America: Main Figures in 2018

The statement explains that "... Actions such as the non-intrusive inspection of passengers coming from countries with suspected outbreaks, carried out this week at La Aurora International Airport, thanks to canine units, made it possible to identify and confiscate food hidden in luggage, including bananas. Likewise, the fumigation of containers in ports was strengthened, and the phytosanitary requirements of all vegetable material of mushrooms subject to import, coming from any origin, were updated. Similarly, imports of vegetative material products from countries with suspected outbreaks were temporarily suspended, in addition to active surveillance at the national level." See full document.

In Costa Rica, the authorities have also decided to take preventive measures. Fernando Araya, director of the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE), explained to Nacion.com that "... The country will place special carpets in airports to clean, disinfect and dry the footwear of people entering the national soil. The carpets will be in the three main air terminals in the country and are in the process of purchase."

Jorge Sauma, general manager of the National Banana Corporation (Corbana), explained that "... The country's current effort focuses on exclusion, that is, preventing evil from entering the national territory. For this it will be necessary to increase existing measures and protocols. One is to standardize the use of footbaths at the entrances of banana farms."

See Nacion.com article "Ticas authorities redouble controls to prevent entry of the 'most destructive' banana disease" and Prensalibre.com "How the banana and plantain plague affects Guatemala's export activity" (in Spanish).



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Lethal Banana Fungus Sparks Colombia National Emergency


Posted 08/08/2019

Colombia, one of the world's largest banana exporters, declared a national emergency on Thursday. August 8 after detecting an outbreak of a lethal fungus on a farm near the Venezuelan border.

"We will declare the national emergency, although the presence of the disease has been confirmed only in La Guajira, in order to speed up the disease containment processes," said Deyanira Barrero, general manager of the state-run Colombian Agricultural Institute ( ICA).

The national emergency declaration means that the authorities implement a special plan to prevent the spread of the disease reports La Prensa

The outbreak of the Fusarium Race 4 Tropical (Foct R4T) was detected in mid-July on a farm in the Caribbean area. The government sent samples to the Netherlands to confirm the diagnosis. The crop was destroyed then and the property quarantined.

Since the detection, the authorities tracked 2,400 hectares of plantations and found that only 175 hectares were affected, Barrero said.



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Colombia Confirms Presence of Banana Pest

Authorities of the South American country confirmed the presence of Fusarium R4T, in a limited area of 175 hectares in the department of Guajira.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Weeks ago, the International Regional Organization for Agricultural Health (OIRSA) reported that because of the suspicion of the fungus in Colombia, the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) issued a resolution on June 25, which declares in phytosanitary quarantine the farm Don Marce, in the municipality of Riohacha in the department of La Guajira, for the presence of symptoms associated with the pest Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Raza 4 Tropical.

You may be interested in "Banana: Exports up to September 2018

From the Colombian Agricultural Institute statement:

Bogotá, August 08, 2019. After the corresponding laboratory analyses, in view of the suspected presence of the Fusarium R4T fungus, which was identified in June; and having implemented a series of robust measures to address the situation from the outset, confirmation has been received of the presence of the Fusarium R4T in La Guajira, in a limited area of 175 hectares, of which 168.5 have been eradicated to date. The above, within the framework of the precautionary measures that the ICA has adopted in conjunction with the productive sector.
Faced with this confirmation, the ICA is issuing today, the Resolution declaring an Emergency of a national nature, endorsing and expanding the early warning measures and contingency plan already implemented by the ICA since June 11, it is necessary to expand phytosanitary surveillance measures throughout the national territory, the import of disinfectants that will be used by the productive sector and will facilitate the administrative actions of the case.
The declaration of national emergency is issued in order to increase controls and have additional measures to address the situation in the affected area and mitigate the risk of contagion to other regions. The National Emergency does not mean that there is an affectation in other areas of the country.

Read full article (In Spanish).



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Banana: More Measures for Pest Threats

Costa Rica has updated the mandatory phytosanitary measures for imports, while in Guatemala protocols are being implemented in the fields where the fruit is harvested, because of the threat of Fusarium R4T disease.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Central American countries are still on alert for the outbreak of the fungus, as in early August Colombian authorities confirmed the presence of Fusarium R4T, in a limited area of 175 hectares in the department of Guajira.

Faced with these threats, the Costa Rican State Phytosanitary System (SFE) decided to update the mandatory measures for the import of articles that may be a route of transmission of the fungus.

Elobservador.cr notes that "... the ELA will redouble its efforts in monitoring the entry of plants, fresh and dried parts of plants of the Musaceae family, as well as soil and organic growth media. Also, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) asked those who enter the country, either by air or land, not to enter seeds or plants.

You may be interested in "Banana: Exports up to September 2018

The article adds that "... To the list of products that the authorities ask to avoid are souvenirs or objects made of plant fibers, such as hats, baskets or handbags."

Guatemala is also acting to prevent the entry of the fungus. Prensalibre.com explains that "... The first simulation to evaluate the capacity to respond, manage and control possible outbreaks of Fusarium was conducted in a farm in Los Amates, Izabal, which is one of the places where fruit is planted mainly for export.

"... On the South Coast side, simulations were also scheduled between the Maga and the producers in the area of Tiquisate, Escuintla, for September. Izabal's port authorities confirmed that the fumigation of containers in the ports was also reinforced and the phytosanitary controls of all vegetable merchandise subject to import were updated," the article states.

See article from Elobservador.com "País redobla esfuerzos para impedir entrada de fungo que afecta cultivos de banano" and from Prensalibre.com "Fusarium R4T: Estas medidas aplica Guatemala en las costas para proteger el banano del destructivo hongo".



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