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Antigua: No black sigatoka reports on island

Agriculture officials in Antigua say they have not received any report of the dreaded Sigatoka disease, which is currently damaging agricultural industry in other Caribbean islands.

The disease has been present in Belize, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad for several years and has more recently been found in St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia.

Head of the plant protection unit, Dr Janil Gore-Francis said that bananas imported onto the island are treated before being packaged for export.

The St Lucia government is getting ready to unveil its plan for fighting the disease, which is expected to include cabinet approved aid for farmers affected by the disease, the destruction of abandoned farms where the disease is prevalent and a public awareness campaign.

Other Caribbean banana producers have expressed worries about the spread of the Black Sigatoka through the region, and its effects on the livelihoods of banana farmers.

In export plantations, Black Sigatoka is controlled with frequent applications of fungicides and other agricultural practices, such as the removal of affected leaves, and adequate spacing of plants and efficient drainage within plantations.


Publication date: 2/29/2012


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