Costa Rica’s banana corporation Corbana held a press conference on Wednesday to introduce growers to a new environmentally friendly nematicide developed by Bayer CropScience. Verango was developed in Costa Rica as a treatment against Black Sigatoka. During trials it was found to be effective in the control of nematodes, which are the second leading cause of damage to banana plants in the Central American country after Black Sigatoka.
According to Corbana, Bayer’s green band solution is also less harmful to the environment and to the health of farm workers. Moreover, plants only have to be treated twice a year instead of three times, as is the case with traditional nematicides, saving time and reducing costs.
“With the launch of this product, Bayer reconfirms its commitment to innovation and sustainability, which have been the driving forces behind the company’s success during the past 150 years,” said the company’s regional director for Central America and the Caribbean, Rafael Villarroel.
Verango was developed at the Central American Agri-Research station in Costa Rica before being subject to semi-commercial trials throughout the country’s main banana producing regions.
Nematodes, which are virtually invisible to the naked eye, attack the roots of the plant, forming nodules that cause the plant to wilt and finally die.
Jorge Sauma, Corbana’s general manager, said the corporation supported any national or international company providing effective solutions to help growers fight the spread of pests and disease. “Given that it takes nine years for new treatments to be officially registered for use in Costa Rica, we welcome this latest addition to the tools producers have at their disposal to help them raise productivity and improve competitiveness,” he said.
Due to the absence of nematode-suppressive soils, Costa Rica has a higher incidence of nematodes that other banana producing countries in the region, and besides farming sustainably, nematicides are the only effective treatment.
Bayer said Verango is on sale in Central America and will soon be available to growers in South America and Africa.