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Ecuador protects its bananas with the development and importation of more varieties resistant to Fusarium, which is expanding in the region

In 2022 the country celebrated another year without Fusarium race 4 (FocR4T) in its territory. The plague was detected in 2019 in Colombia (in the Guajira sector), in April 2021 in Peru (Piura) and Venezuela confirmed the presence of the fungus on January 19. In Ecuador it has not been located, and from the public and private sectors new initiatives are planned for this year so that it continues like this.

Venezuela confirms the presence of Fusarium Race 4 in plantations in three states

For example, the Biotechnological Research Center of Ecuador (CIBE – Espol), which celebrated its twenty years of creation on January 27, presented three projects on this day, one is the institutional program against Fusarium R4T, in which prestigious international universities collaborate.

The program has 6 financed projects to develop resistance in the banana varieties produced in Ecuador and generate friendly alternatives to combat the disease.

The institution advanced other details of the program. “CIBE together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), through the Undersecretary of Musáceas and the National Institute of Agricultural Research (Iniap), we advance in our collaboration with the best international universities to face the threat of FocR4T banana” .

Raúl Jaramillo, executive director (e) of Iniap, pointed out that Ecuador will have banana plants tolerant to FocR4T and other diseases that threaten crops. The Iniap and the Cibe collaborate in the investigation to obtain materials that ensure a healthy and profitable agricultural production”.

4,620 Formosana GCTCV-218 banana plants are already in the country, tolerant to Fusarium race 4

Meanwhile, for this year the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and the Phytosanitary and Zoosanitary Regulation and Control Agency (Agrocalidad) plan to import more varieties tolerant to the pest, Minister Bernardo Manzano revealed to EL UNIVERSO newspaper. In April 2022, the Government imported 4,620 plants in vitro of banana Formosana GCTCV-218, from South Africa, which are still in the process of observation in the Iniap laboratories.

In addition, in 2022 the Government announced a budget of $8 million to prevent the entry of the fungus. Manzano assured that this year the budget will be similar.

While Agrocalidad’s balance sheet on the actions implemented last year that kept the plague out of the country shows that 3 million shoe disinfections were carried out in ports, international airports and border crossings; 455,068 light and heavy vehicles disinfected at border crossings and barrier and control blocks; and the disinfection in ports of 696,723 containers and 585 used agricultural machinery.

In addition to monitoring in musaceae production sites nationwide, benefiting 15,000 producers and guaranteeing 365,000 hectares of crops, according to Agrocalidad.

In 2022, 3 million shoe disinfections were carried out in ports, international airports and border crossings. Photo: Taken from @AgrocalidadZ1

According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, in Ecuador the banana sector represents 2% of total GDP and 35% of agricultural GDP with 7 million tons exported to 87 countries, with an FOB value of approximately $3.5 billion in 2021, additionally 17% of the Ecuadorian population is linked to banana activities.

Meanwhile, another of the actions carried out this year to prevent the arrival of the plague was the II National Simulation of action, to deal with possible outbreaks of Fusarium, which took place at the Hacienda Porvenir, located on Via Buena Fe, in the Quevedo canton.

Investment of more than $8 million to prevent the arrival of Fusarium race 4

This farm has 380 hectares in banana production, of which 365 hectares have implemented the biosecurity measures that the Agency establishes to reduce the risk of introduction, establishment and spread of Foc R4T. 130 people participated in the simulation, including producers, exporters, academia, research centers, teams from the Agency, IICA (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture) and GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation, in German).

The first field drill carried out by Agrocalidad took place in 2019 in the province of Bolívar.

Meanwhile, the participants worked under the four-season methodology:

  1. Biosecurity measures in production sites;
  2. Symptoms and routes of dispersal;
  3. Phytosanitary surveillance for Foc R4T and Sampling; Y
  4. Eradication.

At the stations, the themes of the plan that contemplates suppression, containment and eradication actions were addressed, based on which training, dissemination, workshops, standardization of laboratory detection methodologies, among others, have been carried out; as well as the establishment of phytosanitary regulations. (YO)

Source: Eluniverso


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