Within the framework of the project "Safe Banana: Prevention and mitigation of FOC R4T risks in Ecuador", the executive director of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE), José Antonio Hidalgo, announced that the GAL Rahan Meristem, from Israel, a variety resistant to Fusarium race 4 (FOC R4T), could soon be allowed to be imported. Last Friday, the National Institute of Agricultural Research (Iniap) sent the cooperation agreement to the company Rahan Meristem, which is the final step of the process.
Regarding the Safe Banana project, which will be executed by AEBE's Banana Statistical Observatory (OEB), Hidalgo said that satellite technology has been implemented in this project.
"The goal is to unify our efforts in the mapping of the areas with the greatest risk. In this way, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and control authorities, we will manage to reactivate the Inter-institutional Commission, also with Prefecturas, Agrocalidad y la Academia (CIBE), in order to jointly issue all alerts," he said.
Meanwhile, the representative of GIZ, Ralph Buss, said that Safe Banana will focus on taking steps to allow the country to be prepared for a possible arrival of R4T FOC. "We want to be better organized and create synergies that will allow us to tackle this threat, because for pests, there are no borders. It is not an easy job, but it is a shared responsibility with all links in the chain," said Buss, who is also coordinator of the Estamos ALERT4 project.
The implementation of this initiative will begin in the province of El Oro, according to Hidalgo, and they want to extend it to other banana-growing areas of Los Ríos and Guayas, where he said the prefectures have already been approached with proposals "to join forces."