FAO and Dominica Conducts Black Sigatoka Workshop
In the continued fight against the dreaded Black Sigakota Disease, currently threatening the Region’s banana and plantain crops, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has organized an intensive training in management of the disease.
Head of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Unit, Mr. Ryan Anselm believes, this workshop is crucial as Dominica’s immunity to the disease has increased over the last ten years.
He said, as plant protection officers and experts, we have to ensure that programmes are put in place to manage these diseases, which cost millions of dollars to manage.
“Diseases such as Black Sigatoka are threatening our food security, not only in Dominica but in the Region.”
Data reveals that in St. Vincent, Black Sigatoka has caused 95 percent loss in export market in bananas, and in Guyana it is almost 100 percent in plantains.
With such alarming data, Mr. Anselm said, we as a region need to unite in combating this disease, hence the reason for this workshop.
Dr. Luis Perez-Vicente, International Consultant and Senior Plant Pathologist, in the Ministry of Agriculture, for Havana, and Cuba stated, we need to enforce quarantine procedures, for this rapid spreading disease.
Black Sigatoka Disease is considered by far the most destructive disease to bananas and plantains.
It affects the leaves, severely impacting the plant’s ability to produce fruits of good size and weight, and causes premature ripening of the fruits, diminishing their export potential.
Black Sigatoka Disease first made its way to the Caribbean in 1991 and has since then spread systematically throughout the Region.
It is hoped that with a comprehensive management plan and high levels of awareness both amongst commercial farmers and householders, that Black Sigatoka Disease can be controlled and eventually eradicated from the Region.