Banana and plantain crops are some of the most important crops in Colombia. Some 20,000 farmers cultivate almost 300,000 hectares in 17 of the 19 provinces of the country, according to data from 2018 provided by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC).
Due to the enormous economic impact that its production generates, the Ministry of Agriculture started this week an information campaign about the cubense fusarium race 4 (R4T) and has mobilized its brigades to monitor the farms where the Musaceae is grown due to the possible presence of this plague in two Colombian plantations.
The articles detailing the situation of the affected farms and the degree of infection were initially published in the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) and subsequently deleted.
Article 1 of resolution 00008574 indicates that the Eva Norte farm in the municipality of Riohacha, department of La Guajira, was declared in plant quarantine due to the presence of symptoms associated with the Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 plague.
Meanwhile, resolution 00008573 declared a quarantine on the Don Marce farm, which is part of Dole Organic Colombia's portfolio. "It was established in 2007 near the Tapias River in La Guajira, 100 kilometers northeast of Santa Marta. This farm is certified according to the organic standards of the EU and the USDA NOP," according to Dole's website.
According to ICA, the infected plants are delimited with a 10-meter range from their zone A, or infected area; but there is also a 20-square-meter security area around the contaminated plant.
The observation area includes 80 square meters from the identified sick plant, according to both resolutions of the Colombian control entity.
The Government of Ecuador, which started an information and monitoring campaign last week, has not informed Ecuadorian banana growers about the two quarantined farms in the neighboring country. These farms are located in La Guajira, which lies in the north of Colombia, near Santa Marta.