Biosecurity for small growers of local and organic export banana in Peru – seeking synergies with food safety and ecological intensification

C. Staver, R. Delgado, J.C. Rojas Llanque, J.C. Rivas
For decades, banana Fusarium wilt Race 1 (FWR1) has spread throughout banana growing areas of Peru. In response, small growers have changed cultivars and crops. The threat of FW to bananas countrywide has worsened with the detection of Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4 (FWTR4) in organic export banana on the northern coast. Farm-level biosecurity measures to reduce the risks of FWTR4/R1 are directed toward physical barriers and control points to minimize vehicles and persons entering and leaving the farm and ensure their sanitation. We completed a diagnostic study of biosecurity practices in two smallholder banana-growing regions – organic export Cavendish on the north coast and cultivars for national markets often susceptible to FWR1 in the central Selva. Simultaneously we examined the potential to increase productivity through ecological intensification and to gain market acceptability through food safety measures. We hypothesized that among resource-scarce growers, biosecurity measures which contribute to productivity and food safety requirements will be more readily put into practice. Seven farms in central Selva and five marketing associations were profiled through site visits, drone views and structured interviews. Interviews were also conducted with research and regulatory agencies. The assessment showed that growers in both zones had received little training on banana disease symptoms and epidemiology and were not implementing biosecurity measures. In the central Selva, planting material appeared to be the major path for FWR1 spread and 6 of 7 farms visited already had infected fields. On the north coast, fields are contiguous joined by flood irrigation and served by over 75 mobile packing sheds and harvesting crews which move from farm to farm and sector to sector without biosecurity measures, both contributing to major risk of spread. Inspectors for certification in both regions and input sales representatives on the north coast arriving from abroad are not subject to biosecurity measures. Practical training on disease symptoms, characteristics and management of healthy planting material and epidemiology-based risk assessment and the promotion of multi-purpose living hedges as barriers could contribute to biosecurity, productivity and food safety, while control of international and local visitors addresses biosecurity and food safety.
Staver, C., Delgado, R., Rojas Llanque, J.C. and Rivas, J.C. (2023). Biosecurity for small growers of local and organic export banana in Peru – seeking synergies with food safety and ecological intensification. Acta Hortic. 1367, 259-268
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1367.30
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, Fusarium wilt, GlobalGAP, Musa spp

Acta Horticulturae