Over the past decade, banana production in East Asian countries is increasingly under pressure due to the outbreak of a new, highly virulent strain of banana wilt disease, Tropical race 4 (TR4), caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense (Foc), also known as Panama Disease. Within the last year, this powerful strain of Panama Disease has spread from Asia to Mozambique, as well as to Oman and Jordan. There is acute concern of further spread of this strain to Latin America.
The Tropical race 4 strain of Panama Disease is one of the most damaging banana diseases, potentially causing a dramatic decrease in banana production and global trade, which would devastate producers’ livelihoods, especially those of smallholders. Combating this strain of Panama Disease is a critical priority for BARNESA countries. More than 1 million hectares under cultivation of African TR4-susceptible bananas are at risk, of which small-scale farmers hold 90-95%, growing mixed varieties.
Rapid action is needed to halt the disease’s spread.
With coordination support from Bioversity International, BARNESA and partners have developed regional-level strategies which must be urgently adopted in order to further prevent this strain of Panama disease from spreading. Read more…