The State Phytosanitary Service (SFE) announced the application of special measures for the importation of certain banana plants due to the global threat of the Fusarim R4T pest.
In a press release, the SFE stated that Costa Rica had updated the phytosanitary measures of mandatory compliance for the import of regulated articles, following a notification from the World Trade Organization.
After stating that the entry of the aforementioned plague would endanger the livelihood of millions of producers, workers, and companies linked to the banana industry in Costa Rica, the SFE announced that there will be greater control in plants to sow, fresh and dried parts of plants of the Musaceae family, soil, and organic growth media.
Although the Fusarim R4T is not present in the American continent, the SFE warned that this pest represents a high risk for the cultivation of bananas and other hosts.
The head of the Department of Standards and Regulations of the SFE, Magda Gonzalez, said that "this addendum eliminates the post-entry quarantine requirement for the countries in which the disease is absent and specifies the use of the 'in vitro meristem culture' technique."
According to the press, this plague affects banana plantations of the Cavendish subgroup in several countries of the world, with devastating consequences because to date there is no known control strategy, so its entry into the Central American region would have a great economic and social impact.
According to the International Regional Organization for Animal Health, this fungus causes Fusarium wilt (also known as Panama disease), and its damages are not only linked to losses due to diseased plants, but also to the cost of the management measures that need to be implemented.
The general manager of the National Banana Corporation, Jorge Sauma, said that while it is important to take action, the truth is that the threat of this plague entering Costa Rica is not as high as in other latitudes.
"'We are raising awareness in the farms and we are working together with the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Phytosanitary Service. The important thing is to have protocols and to perform drills,'" he said. Sauma said that everything was under control, but acknowledged the seriousness of this plague and said that they must remain on alert and comply with preventive measures.