UPDATE: Black Sigatoka Disease
Head of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Division in the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Ryan Anselm, says the Ministry of Agriculture has been working feverishly in their fight against the Black Sigatoka Disease.
They have developed an integrated pest management plan to fight the disease which has three principles.
Mr. Anselm says all farmers must take the necessary steps to add nutrition to the plants, as a healthy plant can withstand any disease just like human beings.
He noted that farmers should go on a de-leafing programme, sanitize their fields add, nutrition and pesticides and get rid of all weeds and drainage problems.
Presently, the Ministry of Agriculture has sprayed 1700 banana and plantain fields island-wide, and a first cycle of fungicides have been given.
Mr. Anselm pointed out that in the next two weeks they will commence spraying the second cycle of fungicides to manage the Black Sigatoka Disease.
According to him, if all farmers comply with the measures put in place to prevent the spread of this deadly disease, our banana and plantain sector is well on its way to again meet the export market.
Mr. Anselm stated they have successfully negotiated with Antigua on restrictions they placed on Dominican produce since they do not have Black Sigatoka, and do not want it on their shores however, they did not put a ban on Dominican produce.
He added that St. Kitts and St. Martin do have the same requirements; where as Montserrat does have a restriction on Dominica’s banana and plantain, which they are working on to resolve.
Mr. Anselm highlighted that presently bananas and plantain from Dominica can be exported to; St. Kitts, Antigua and St, Martin but not Montserrat as yet.