Technical consultation on prevention and management of Fusarium wilt disease of banana


Fusarium wilt disease, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense (Foc), is among the most destructive diseases of banana. A new race of the fungus known as Tropical Race 4 (TR4) has been affecting severely banana plantations in Southeast Asia and recently it has been reported, for the first time outside Asia, in Mozambique and Jordan.

The TR4 race infects the widely grown Cavendish varieties, which dominate global trade but are also important for domestic markets, as well as some other cultivars used for local consumption and marketing. Once the disease is present in a field it cannot be eradicated effectively. Hence the threat is considered severe for the banana producers in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.
In view of the magnitude of the risks, a global programme is being prepared for the prevention and management of this disease. In this regard a consultation meeting was organized at the headquarters of FAO in Rome, Italy on 9-10th December 2014.
The meeting brought together 35 experts from various international and national institutions in Asia, Africa, Near East, Europe and Latin America and Caribbean. The participants discussed current status of the disease, strategies for prevention and management as well as current international efforts and progress worldwide. In addition a draft text was presented for a global programme which aims to strengthen international collaboration and contribute to development of global and regional strategies for prevention and management of the disease.

Through 29 presentations and discussions various recommendations were formulated for global, regional and local strategies. Highlighted issues and recommendations included, among others, the importance of the following for prevention and management of the disease:

  • Awareness raising at farmer, producer and political level, 
  • Surveillance, early detection and rapid response, 
  • Legislation, quarantine measures and role of IPPC and plant protection organizations 
  • Risk assessment and contingency planning,
  • Use of clean planting materials, 
  • Development and use of resistant varieties, 
  • Inoculum reduction through appropriate management practices,
  • Capacity building and training of technical officers and farm workers,
  • Regional and global collaboration.

The meeting emphasized that a global collaboration mechanism is needed to facilitate synergies and exchange of experiences among the countries and institutions at regional and global level,

The proposed programme and framework of the activities were appreciated and welcomed by the participants. The participants strongly supported the proposed programme and indicated their willingness to collaborate with FAO in its further development and implementation.

Read the press release here

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