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Colombia: Six Banana Farms in Quarantine Under Suspicious of TR4

19.7.2019

President Iván Duque met on July 19 with Minister of Agriculture and representatives of the Colombian banana sector to assess the situation of a fungus affecting 150 hectares of this crop in the Guajira, in the northeast of the country.

The Colombian health authorities have several hypotheses about the appearance of this fungus in crops. This does not affect the fruit or human consumption, but harms the earth because it prevents the process of photosynthesis and the damage can last up to 30 years.

"Normally the disease is transmitted through the soil, being the people who expand the fungus on the ground," said the Minister of Agriculture, Andrés Valencia. "In the six farms in La Guajira, Venezuelan personnel work and one of the theories or hypotheses of this appearance is that it could have been due to migration." He did not give more details.

One of the measures announced on July 19 was the creation of a command post with the presence of the banana sector, the Colombian agricultural institute (ICA) and the police and army authorities. The purpose is to control the access to the affected area, the loading and unloading of the product and the disinfection process.

In a statement the ICA said that footwear, clothing and tools are being disinfected in the area. To date, 75 hectares have been eradicated and the goal is to end the week with the eradication of all those that have presented symptoms compatible with the disease.

The Colombian Association of Bananeros said that in 2018 more than 101.4 million boxes of bananas were exported with a value of 869 million dollars and generates more than 35 thousand direct jobs with 50 thousand hectares planted.

Colombia is the fifth exporter worldwide, Ecuador is the first.

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