Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Programme to contain huge threat to world's bananas - FAO

English
© ANSA

Rome, October 18 - The Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) said Wednesday that a new global programme is
being launched to contain a huge threat to the world's banana
production.
The Rome-based United Nations agency said a new strain of a
fungus could cause vast commercial losses and even greater
damage to the livelihoods of the 400 million people who rely on
the world's most traded fruit as a staple food or source of
income.
FAO and its partners Bioversity International, the
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and the World
Banana Forum have launched a global programme requiring $98
million to contain and manage the Tropical Race 4 (TR4) strain
of Fusarium wilt.
This is an insidious disease that can last for years in soils
and can hitchhike to new fields and destinations through a
number of means such as infected planting materials, water,
shoes, farm tools and vehicles, the FAO said.
"This is a major threat to banana production in several
regions of the world," said Hans Dreyer, Director of FAO's Plant
Production and Protection Division.
"We need to move quickly to prevent its further spread from
where it is right now and to support already affected countries
in their efforts to cope with the disease.
"The long term resilience of banana production systems can
only be improved through continuous monitoring, robust
containment strategies, strengthening national capacities and
enhancing international collaboration to deploy integrated
disease management approaches".
Fusarium wilt TR4 was first detected in Southeast Asia in the
1990s and has now been identified at 19 sites in 10 countries,
including the Near East, South Asia and Mozambique in
sub-Saharan Africa.
The global programme is initially targeting 67 countries in a
bid to prevent its spread and management.
Without a coordinated intervention, scientists estimate that
the disease could affect up to 1.6 million hectares of current
banana lands by 2040, representing one-sixth of current global
production with an estimated annual value of USD 10 billion.
The programme aims to reduce the potentially affected area by
up to 60 percent.

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