Following last week’s discovery in a small farm in Northern Peru of banana plants suspected to be infected with the so-called Tropical Race 4 fungus, government authorities have declared a national plant health emergency. On 12th April, the National Plant Health Service confirmed the presence of the disease in a farm near Querecotillo in the Chira Valley near Sullana, where several thousand small-scale farmers produce organic bananas.
The Agriculture Ministry’s diagnosis over the weekend has confirmed that the Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense fungus, triggering a series of strict emergency measures such as the restriction of access to the affected farm, the elimination of the infected plants, farmer training and a vigilance plan across the estimated 170,000 hectares of bananas and plantain.
The disease which emerged in East Asia several decades ago, and which has devastated tens of thousands of hectares of the crop in the Philippines, Taiwan, China and South East Asia, was first discovered in Latin America in Northern Colombia in mid-2019. Control measures implemented by the Colombian plant health authorities and farmers appear to have restricted the Colombian outbreak successfully.
Below is a video report (in Spanish) on the outbreak from SENASA, the National Agrarian Health Service of Peru.
Source & photo: SENASA, Lima, 12th April.