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TR4 Task Force Communication: Phytosanitary alert for Fusarium TR4 in Latin America and the Caribbean

15/08/2019

Fusarium Tropical Race 4 (TR4) has arrived in Latin America. After its first detection in Asia more than 20 years ago, and its subsequent shift to Africa in 2013, it has finally arrived in Latin America. On August 8, the Colombian Institute of Agriculture (ICA) officially announced that TR4 has been found on six farms in La Guajira, the North East of the country. Subsequently, the ICA aims for the declaration of a National Emergency.

The World Banana Forum (WBF) fully supports the ICA Declaration of a National Emergency, which is a prerequisite to implement all necessary measures to prevent a further spread of the fungus. The WBF also backs the Regional Declaration on Fusarium TR4 issued by the Ecuadorian Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Xavier Lazo Guerrero at a high-level meeting on August 5 in Quito. The Declaration endorses and supports all measures to prevent the spread of TR4 and to foster collaboration amongst countries.

The WBF and its TR4 Task Force are working towards a TR4 Global Network (TR4GN), a platform that aims to coordinate the actions of the various stakeholders and to facilitate information sharing and communication to support the global efforts in the fight against TR4. A preliminary version of the TR4 Global Network website is already available, providing a repository of information and materials regarding the disease and its management. The page contains information in Spanish and English.

In view of the outbreak of TR4 in Colombia, the WBF and its TR4 Task Force invite all stakeholders to join and extend the TR4 Global Network to jointly raise awareness, strengthen capacities and implement field actions. The following recommendations are provided to national and regional authorities, implementation leaders and decision-makers:

  • Strengthen inter-institutional coordination and promote the participation of experts that will allow an adequate diagnosis and treatment of the suspected symptoms.
  • Design and implement relevant and effective risk management plans.
  • Participate actively in the decision-making processes, so that decisions are aligned with the needs in the field to help producers reduce vulnerability and increase resilience.
  • Activate national and regional TR4 alerts and protocols, as well as maintain permanent contacts with the Regional and National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs). Responsible reporting of the presence of potential symptoms will contribute to contain the disease.
  • Dedicate human, technical and financial resources to capacity development and coordination of activities in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the rest of the world.
  • Implement biosecurity measures at farm level according to international guidelines (such as the IPPC Standard for Phytosanitary Measures and the GlobalGAP TR4-Biosecurity Add-On) and national guidelines.
  • Implement biosecurity measures in ports, airports and borders, according to national and international norms and standards.

Collaboration is at the core of the WBF and its TR4 Task Force, and we are convinced that only joint efforts and communication will lead to tackling the spread of Fusarium Tropical Race 4.

Join the TR4 Global Network of the World Banana Forum! Contact us at tr4gn@fao.org