Almost two and a half months ago, the Ecuadorian banana cluster, formed by the Banana Exporters Association (AEBE), the Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec), and Agroban, asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to authorize the importation of banana varieties that are tolerant or resistant to Fusarium R4T. However, as of today, the sector still hasn't received any official authorization to do so.
The conglomerate considers it a priority to acclimatize the requested varieties -comprised of the GCTV 218 somaclonal variant of the Taiwan Banana Research Institute, and the Improved Gal variety and the C4 somaclonal variant by Rahan Meristem, from Israel- to the agroclimatic conditions of the different banana areas in the country while the Foc R4T is not present in the country.
The adaptability project of these materials takes time, as it requires propagating the material and acclimatizing the plants to the country's agro-climatic conditions to obtain commercially available materials to offer to the sector.
The Iniap (National Institute of Agricultural Research) will be in charge of evaluating the varieties' adaptability and distinguishability to guarantees their health and quality. They may carry out said evaluations in the farms enabled for this purpose, or in the institute's facilities.
The three unions have also requested carrying out a project through a public-private partnership that includes Agrocalidad, the Rahan Meristem company, the Polytechnic Superior School of the Coast, Espol, estates of the cluster members, and universities.
Diario Expreso asked the Ministry's Department of Communication about any specific requests made by the three unions and about the authorization to import the aforementioned material, but they still haven't received an answer. However, last week the official sector announced its intention to reach a cooperation agreement with scientists from the Queensland University of Technology, who claim to have materials resistant to R4T.