Efforts to contain the outbreak of Fusarium TR4 fungus in Colombia appear to have succeeded in halting the spread of the disease to date.
In an interview with El Universo, Jaime Cárdenas, assistant manager of plant protection at the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA), said almost 200ha of banana plantations had been destroyed since the discovery of TR4 in July in two farms in La Guajira.
“Coordinated actions between the state and private sector have contained the fungus in farms in the municipalities of Dibulla and Riohacha in La Guajira,” Cárdenas said. “Although the area of the outbreak is less than 25ha, as of 4 December 185ha have been eradicated.”
As soon as the fungus was discovered, all plants within a 100 metre radius out the outbreak were immediately destroyed, with biosecurity measures implemented in seven quarantined farms and 13 plantations certified for export in the region.
The Armed Forces and Police were mobilised to control containment efforts, which included disinfecting all vehicles entering and leaving the region with ammonium.
Cárdenas revealed that investigations by ICA revealed that contaminated soil was the most likely route of entry of the disease, although other means of dispersal had not been ruled out.
ICA said it would continue to cooperate with plant health authorities in other Latin American producing countries in order to reinforce quarantine actions and strengthen diagnostic protocols to facilitate early warning of the presence of the disease.