On suspicion of the presence of the Fusarium fungus race 4 in Colombia, the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA), the Association of Banana Growers of Magdalena and La Guajira (Asbama) and the Association of Banana Growers of Colomia (Augura), have strengthened biosecurity measures and developed control and prevention efforts. International experts from the Netherlands, Brazil and Australia, as well as organizations such as Bioverity International, have traveled to the area where the fungus was detected to help.
Reinforcement of measures
The contingency plan established in the zone concentrates its efforts on three fronts: intervention on farms, control of mobilization and implementation of controls at ports, airports and border crossings.
The director of the ICA, Deyanira Barrero León, recalled that since Friday, July 13, quarantine was declared in four farms in La Guajira, which implies a restriction on the movement of plant material, people, machinery and tools, among others. She added that after several analyses, two new farms located in the same perimeter of the initially affected area were declared in quarantine.
Since the possible outbreak was declared, 75 hectares have been eradicated and the goal is the eradication of 152 hectares that have presented symptoms compatible with the disease during this week. This measure has been implemented in accordance with established international protocols.
The posts of control to the mobilization with preventive approach that have been activated are in La Guajira, Mingueo, Dibulla, Fonseca, Maicao, El Reposoy Los Cauchos.
For his part, the executive president of ASBAMA, José Francisco Zúñiga, said that the country's banana sector, through the two guilds that represent it, is united to combat the Fusarium R4T, also known among farmers as the Panama disease, which, according to the ICA, does not pose a risk to health.
The union leader added that all companies affiliated with Asbama, a guild that represents 80% of banana production on the country's North Coast, extreme prevention measures, as well as training of all employees.