Jamaica’s Banana Board is urging farmers to implement measures to protect their holdings against the TR4 disease. Fusarium odoratissimum, more commonly known as the TR4 disease, is a threat to commercial varieties of the Jamaican banana, plantain and ornamental Heliconia crops.
According to General Manager of the Banana Board, Janet Conie, the disease has the real danger or potential to wipe out the entire industry: “It is not in Jamaica and it is not yet in the Caribbean but in 2019 it came to South America to Colombia and it stayed there for a while. In 2021, it moved from Colombia to Peru and in January 2023, just two months ago, it jumped into Venezuela.”
The TR4 is a soil-borne fungal disease that can stay in the soil for 30 years. Mrs. Conie pointed out that there is no cure and there are no resistant commercial varieties. “What we need to do is to keep it out. What happens when it comes is that it spreads in the soil, in water, on tools and equipment and by people moving. We are very concerned that it is in Venezuela, because the traffic between Venezuela and Trinidad is real and the traffic between Jamaica and Trinidad is very real,” she explained.