Through a public-private partnership, the banana sector will receive more than $8 million dollars to control the black sigatoka disease and to promote the export crops' productivity and competitiveness.
The Ministry of Agriculture and the banana sector's guilds signed an agreement that specifies the value of investments will be over $18,000 million pesos (about 8 million dollars), $12,500 million pesos of which (about US $6 million) will be provided by the Ministry.
The agreement was signed between the Ministry of Agriculture, the Association of Banana Growers of Colombia (Augura), the Association of Banana Producers from Middle Magdalena and La Guajira (Asbama), and the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA), an entity that will perform technical supervision and support in the field.
Considering that the banana subsector generates 1.5% of Colombia's agricultural GDP and that the banana has traditionally been one of the country's flagship fruit exports, the Ministry offered strong support to growers, especially for small producers who have been affected by the disease, so that they get priority attention, investment and can generate jobs.
The black sigatoka disease is the most destructive disease for bananas and can cause the most economical damages for these crops by causing a 50% loss of yield and premature ripening of the fruit.
According to the Ministry's Directorate for Technological Development, they are also seeking to empower the producers so that they are in charge of controlling the disease and the fertilization activities so its propagation is avoided. To this end, professionals in technology and better farming practices will accompany small producers.
Moreover, Juan Camilo Restrepo Gómez, president of Augura, stated that, "these resources will benefit 868 producers in more than 46,000 hectares producing regions of Urabá, Magdalena and La Guajira". He welcomed the decision, adding that these resources would allow the country to maintain the phytosanitary status demanded by the international markets.