Ecuador: Ministry of Agriculture Activates Plan to Prevent TR4


After news that the Panama Disease fungus was detected in an organic banana farm in the region of La Guajira in Colombia was released during the week, Ecuador launched the contingency plan to prevent the entry of the fungus Fusarium Race 4 (TR4), which can affect plantain and banana plantations, to the Andean nation.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and the Agency for Regulation and Control of Phyto and Zoosanitary (Agrocalidad) activated protocols and preventive biosecurity measures in order to protect the phytosanitary status of the country.

The activation was carried out on July 3rd, 2019. The MAG indicated that the country "does not have the presence of this plague", but public and private institutions are prepared for a possible threat to banana and plantain crops. On July 4th the MAG, Agrocalidad, leaders of banana guilds and scientists from the Center for Biotechnological Research (CIBE) of the Espol met at the Boliche Experimental Station, on the Guayaquil-Milagro highway, and analyzed the strategy to disseminate the plans and protocols on which the country has been working in recent years.

The protocols were activated on suspicion that Fusarium oxisporum f.s.p. Cubense Race 4 Tropical (FOC R4T) has entered Colombia already.

The Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) has not issued any official confirmation on the presence of the fungus in its country. Colombian authorities sent samples to laboratories in the Netherlands and have been very secretive on the subject. All the biosecurity measures were taken and the farms in La Guajira are in quarantine.

The contingency plan includes eight measures.

1. Reinforce biosecurity measures in control points (ports, airports, and border crossings).

2. Implement the biosecurity measures established in the Guide of phytosanitary measures for the prevention of FOC R4T in sites of production of musáceas at national scale.

3. Control of propagation material and import of genetic material.

4. Increase diagnostic capacity with other research and academic institutions.

5. Strengthen the dissemination of information about this plague through an informative prevention campaign.

6. Strengthen the accompaniment with technical personnel in the territory.

7. Send a technical report to activate the Mesa 6 (COE) with the Risk Management Department.

8. Call for a permanent biosecurity table with institutions from the public and private sectors.

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