On Wednesday, July 1, Costa Rica declared a state of phytosanitary emergency as a measure to prevent the entry of the Fusarium TR4 plague into the country and protect its banana production, an important activity that generates more than 140,000 direct and indirect jobs and exports that amount to nearly $1 billion a year.
The President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, and the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Renato Alvarado, signed the decree that allows using resources from the State Phytosanitary Service to combat new or existing pests that may cause damage to national agriculture, and carrying out preventive actions to protect the productive activity.
The Fusarium TR4 banana pest causes the plants to wilt and die. In addition, it remains in the soil for a long time, making it difficult to manage. Its presence has already been detected in several parts of the world and in Latin America.
The pathogen is still not present in Costa Rica, so the funds will be allocated to train technicians, producers, and inform the general public about the disease. In addition, the funds will be used to intensify continuous surveillance activities in banana and plantain plantations.
The pest is mainly spread by the movement of planting material in the soil particles that adhere to people's footwear, tools, and vehicles, as well as through runoff or irrigation waters that carry the fungus from one place to another.
Once the fungus enters the plant's vascular system, it triggers a collapse in their water and nutrients transport mechanism, which affects their photosynthesis and causes them to die. To date, there is no chemical, biological, or genetic control to counteract this pest.
Currently, the only way to prevent transferring the affected soil or plant material to Fusarium TR4-free areas is to quarantine the affected areas.
Source: EFE / lavanguardia.com