Banana Forum 2017

Challenges and opportunities for the Colombian banana sector

The III version of the Banana Forum of Asbama, the Banana Association of Magdalena and the Guajira, will be held on November 29th and 30th at the Cajamac Pepe Vives Campo theater, in the city of Santa Marta. The event, which will feature lectures by researchers from the sector, seeks to update the sector's scientific information knowledge, which will allow the region to continue developing their banana production in a healthy and sustainable manner.
According to the Banana Association of Augura, the region of Magdalena has more than 12,000 hectares devoted to this fruit and in 2016 produced 27 million boxes of bananas. The sector is consolidating and entrepreneurs feel motivated and interested in everything that has to do with new technologies and scientific knowledge of the banana crop.
ASBAMA has invited renowned scientists to this 2017 Banana Forum, such as Dr. Gert Kema, a Professor of Tropical Plant Pathology and research leader at Wageningen University & Research (The Netherlands). Currently, Dr. Kema coordinates the main banana research programs, which include a series of doctoral projects on diseases, such as Fusarium oxysporum and Black Sigatoka.
Another guest lecturer is engineer Fernando Garcia Bastidas, a Researcher of Bio-interactions and Plant Health, from the Plant Sciences Group at the Plant Reproduction Laboratory / Phytopathology from the Wageningen University & Research (The Netherlands). Garcia Bastidas is an agronomist from the University of Nariño, who has a Master's degree in Biotechnology from the National University of Colombia. He is a member of the research team of the University of Wageningen that works in the search of multilevel solutions to the wilt caused by the Fusarium RT-4 disease.
The event will also be attended by engineer John Alarcon Restrepo, the Technical Director of Plant Health of the Colombian Agricultural Institute - ICA, who will hold a keynote address on bananas and crop diseases. Alarcon Restrepo is an agronomist from the University of Caldas with a Ph.D. in Phytopathology from the same university. He is a specialist in fruit growing of the Polytechnic University of Valencia Spain and a specialist in citrus production of the Technological University of Pereira. He has been the Technical Director of Risk Assessment (E) of the General Management of the ICA in Bogota, and the Director of ICA's Plant Diagnostic Center in Manizales.
Jaiver Danilo Sanchez Torres, a Banana Technical Leader of Yara Colombia SA will also be a key speaker at the forum. Sanchez Torres is an agronomist from the National University of Colombia, Bogota, and has a Master in Agricultural Sciences with an emphasis in Crop Physiology from the same University. He is the former director of CENIBANANO and the Secretary of ACORBAT International. He belonged to the Board of Directors of CENIRED, the network of research centers of the agricultural sector in Colombia.
Scientific information is a competitive tool that banana producers in the region can use to face the challenges of banana production and the new risk scenarios that surround the activity.

The 2017 version of the ASBAMA Forum will address fundamental issues in the sector's agenda such as: productivity indicators, prevention and/or care of diseases, water resource management, management and conservation of soils with a salinity tendency, organic production, risks associated with climate and market variables, among other issues that generate a constant challenge in terms of quality, productivity, competitiveness, and business efficiency of the banana production chain.

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