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International Forum of Bananas and Fresh Fruit in Ecuador
Sigatoka negra in the world: the solution is in the research

One of the most important issues for producers and exporters of banana is disease management. There is a consensus that the best way to tackle these problems (particularly the Sigatoka negra) is through research. The International Forum of Bananas and Fresh Fruits in Ecuador on 2009, included four researchers: John Jairo Mira, CEO Cenibanano (Colombia); Eduardo Martillo, Consultant; María Isabel Jiménez, CIBE ESPOL; y Carola Resabala, Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral, presented their progress in the research topic. (To view their presentations (only in Spanish) you can press on their respective names).

John Jairo Mira, focused his presentation on the disease situation at the moment, but first took stock of their development. In his presentation he highlighted the different control strategies such as changing materials, use of damper areas, eradication partial/total and techniques for improvement. A point emphasized by Mr. Mira, was the increase that the cycles of spraying have had in threatening the economic viability of the product. Therefore he emphasized that the best answer to this challenge is the research, studying for example the life cycle of the disease, infection and histology of the agronomic factors dependent on the distribution of the disease.

Eduardo Hammer, focused his presentation on the traditional controls of the disease, emphasizing the mission of "the cleaning of the sheet" referring to the signal of the Sigatoka on the leaf. He mentioned the use of fungicides such as the more traditional method of control, making a breakthrough in the organic methods. For Ecuador in particular he stressed the need for prevention, the use of new fungicides and the use of dry periods to improve the monitoring and implementation of less spraying.

For her part, Maria Isabel Jimenez with a technical presentation highlighted new methods for control of Sigatoka negra. She stressed that the fungicides, in most cases have not been produced specifically for the bananas, other products have been adapted for the control of the banana. Hence, the need to seek new options such as organic amendments (solid and liquid), application of nutrients (eg potassium silicate, calcium silicate) and tracking the microbiological indicators among other things. In this way a  method which is closer to nature and perhaps more effective, could achieve the eradication of the problem at some time.

In conclusion, Ms. Carola Resabala centered her discussion between traceability and food safety. For some time the market destination, required that the products that they consume to have extreme sanitary care throughout the value chain. Traces of pesticides are becoming less tolerated and standardization in regulations and / or certification is a pattern being followed in international markets. The support of research at the local level becomes a primary tool in the start of traceability. For Ms. Resabala as for the other exhibitors, the problems will start to emerge until the investigations are made to be more proactive than reactive and that this government should play a key role, the private sector is understood to be a broad participation in investment because in the end it is their business, but sometimes this investment is not enough or simply not accessible to producers / exporters in smaller scale production / exports.

Publication date: 5/13/2009


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