As the world’s number one banana exporter, Ecuador is on high alert for its vital crop as its neighbor Peru is grappling with an outbreak of a fungus deadly to that particular crop. Ecuador is sandwiched between two South American nations that have a presence of the incurable banana affliction, with the fungus first reaching Colombia in 2019. Ecuador has plantations less than 300 kilometers from the northern Peru region where the fungus was confirmed on April 12.
After confirming with Peru’s government of an outbreak of the Fusarium TR4 fungus, which causes the devastating banana wilt, near its southern border with Peru, Agriculture Minister Xavier Lazo stated that emergency measures were taken.
Lazo, himself is a banana grower, has supervised measures along the border that include setting up container disinfection stations along main roads and four simulations to train officials. He has been in frequent contact with his Peruvian counterpart, Federico Tenorio, to coordinate efforts.
Ecuador also installed an Internet-connected microscope at its main regional border facility where most of the trade with Peru comes in; this should quickly identify threats. Ecuador is offering free lab testing and training of proper sanitary procedures to plantations to stop the spread.