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Colombia declares emergency, police and army against deadly fungus that could kill banana forever

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | August 14, 2019
Fusarium wilt tropical race 4
LatAm   Fusarium wilt tropical race 4

Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4) has been confirmed in Latin America, the world’s largest exporter of bananas.

Topics: Colombia banana

Colombia has declared a national emergency. Signs of the fungus were first spotted in June in northern Colombia, and the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) in Bogotá has now announced plans to eradicate plants on nearly 170 hectares of quarantined farmland.

Fusarium wilt was first spotted on on Cavendish cultivars in 1967, trace 1, in Taiwan, but became wider known since.

TR4 kills plants by disrupting their vascular system, preventing growth, and it can last for decades.

Fungicides don't kill it.

The disease has been reported in the La Guajira region of the country but they are expanding control efforts country-wide.

Efforts will include disinfecting machinery, shipping containers, and footwear in quarantined areas.

In a series of tweets, Deyanira Barrero Leon said the police and even the military had been drafted in to combat the spread of the disease, alongside experts from Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil and Mexico.

“We are responding with everything we’ve got,” she said.


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