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Tanzania on high alert, 100 percent banana killing disease approaches border

Staff Writer | May 2, 2017
Tanzania's agriculture researchers are on high alert in order to contain a deadly banana disease which they fear could cross their border with Mozambique.
Panama disease
Africa   Panama disease
The disease is said to wipe-out 100 percent of a plantation.

The disease, Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4 (TR4) affecting Cavendish bananas, has already been reported in northern Mozambique near the country's southern border.

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Plant Virologist, Dr James Legg said Fusarium - Panama disease - is more deadly than the TR1, currently ravaging banana plantations in Kagera.

To stop it reaching other areas, strict quarantine regulations are needed he says, whereby moving infected soil, plants or parts of plants and stopping banana production in affected farms, should be done.

According to a report by CGIAR, in northern Mozambique, it is estimated that affected farms has already lost more than 7.5 million US dollars due to TR4 infection.

Also, over 500,000 plants - more than 300 hectares - have been affected by the pathogen since the outbreak, some three years ago.