Integrating management practices to support banana production in the presence of Fusarium wilt

A.B. Pattison, A.B. Molina, C.P. Chao, A. Viljoen, S.J. Lindsay
Fusarium wilt (FW), caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 (Foc TR4, VCG 1213/16), is increasingly impacting on banana production around the world. The disease threatens the livelihoods of many smallholders and independent banana producers, particularly those growing 'Cavendish' (AAA) in monoculture for the domestic or international supermarket trade. Depending on their circumstances, banana growers require different sets of management practices to either; protect their farms from disease incursions, to slow the spread of the disease within their farms or enable them to return to profitable banana production once decimated by FW. Currently, there are no completely resistant cultivars that achieve the same productivity and marketability as current 'Cavendish' cultivars. Experience has shown that to do nothing or to disregard the disease leads to widespread losses and promotes the spread to previously uninfected areas. Therefore, there is a need to implement management strategies at different levels of disease threat, to manage the disease epidemics in already infected areas to slow the spread and protect uninfected areas. A successful integrated FW management strategy combines knowledge of the epidemiology of Foc TR4, with knowledge of the banana production system. However, banana-producing countries and even plantations differ in their production systems, so there is no easy solution to manage FW. For example, in Australia early detection, farmer awareness, on-farm biosecurity and agro-ecological practices have slowed the spread of FW. In Taiwan and the Philippines, the inclusion of somaclonal tissue culture variants, integrated with sound eradication, exclusion and cultural practices has allowed banana production to continue in the presence of Foc TR4. As validated improvements in agro-ecological plantation management and disease management strategies are developed, they can be incorporated into commercial production systems to allow farm viability in the presence of Fusarium wilt.
Pattison, A.B., Molina, A.B., Chao, C.P., Viljoen, A. and Lindsay, S.J. (2018). Integrating management practices to support banana production in the presence of Fusarium wilt. Acta Hortic. 1196, 129-136
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1196.15
disease suppression, farm management practices, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, on-farm biosecurity, resistant varieties

Acta Horticulturae