CARDI and Agricultural Agencies to host Sensitization & Regional Workshops on Fusarium Wilt

A Sensitization Workshop on ‘the threat of Tropical 4 Race by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense – Fusarium Wilt (Panama Disease) of Bananas and Plantains‘ will be hosted at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday 30 April, 2014. The Workshop will include a Technical Feature on ‘Impacts, prevention and management of the Fusarum Wilt (Panama Diseases) in the Caribbean Region’, and will be led by Mr. Luis Pérez-Vicente, PhD, INISAV, Cuba.

This will be followed by a five-day Regional Workshop on the ‘Prevention and Diagnostic of Fusarium Wilt (Panama Disease) of Bananas and Plantains caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense – Tropical Race’ to be held in Trinidad from May 5 – 9, 2014

Topics to be covered at the Workshop will include:

  • Bananas production and socio economic importance in the Caribbean
  • Banana diseases with emphasis in exotic pathogens to the LAC Region
  • Fusarium wilt or Panama disease: the disease, historic overview, current situation and potential impact of TR4 to the Region
  • Symptoms identification and sampling; manipulation, transport and storage procedures for Panama disease samples; Quarantine procedures on a suspect TR4 outbreak
  • Isolation of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense: Procedures for obtaining single-spore isolates and culture storage
  • Evolution of Fusarium taxonomy: morphological, biological and phylogenetic diagnostic concepts
  • Epidemiology of Panama disease: Critical aspects for sustainable management
  • Integrated management of Fusarium wilt. Strategies used in Asia on TR4
  • Current status on research and needs on Fusarium wilt of banana
  • A Contingency Plan  for an Outbreak of Foc TR4
  • Phylogenetic analysis and applied  molecular diagnostic methods

Professionals sharing their expertise with Regional participants will include:

  • Miguel A. Dita, PhD. EMBRAPA, Brazil
  • Luis Pérez Vicente, PhD. INISAV, Cuba
  • Einar Martinez MSc. INISAV, Cuba
  • E. Martínez de la Parte, INISAV, Cuba

These Workshops are a collaboration among CARDI, IICA, FAO and Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Food Production.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations ‘The threat: Fusarium wilt disease is among the most destructive diseases of the banana plant.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations ‘The threat: Fusarium wilt disease is among the most destructive diseases of the banana plant.

It is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense (Foc) and is also known as Panama disease. The Tropical Race 4 (TR4) of the fungus has been affecting banana plantations severely in Southeast Asia and recently it has been reported, for the first time outside Asia, in Mozambique and Jordan. This race infects the Cavendish varieties, which dominate global trade but are also important for domestic markets, as well as some other cultivars used for local consumption and marketing. Once the disease is present in a field it cannot be controlled effectively by currently available management practices. Hence, prevention and quarantine are the most effective means of control of this disease. The international community and countries at risk are advised to pay attention to the importance of preventive measures.

Currently there are numerous efforts made by the stakeholders including the research institutions, the banana industry, governments and international organizations to prevent the spread of the disease, but in view of the challenges associated with the control of the disease and the risk posed to the global banana supply, it is evident that these need to be intensified. Currently, FAO and its partners, including the World Banana Forum (WBF), The African Foc TR4 consortium, the scientific community and the banana industry are among those making efforts to increase awareness and promote implementation of the preventive measures.’

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