GLOBAL BANANA DISEASE MANAGEMENT GETTING SERIOUS WITH SUSTAINABILITY AND FOOD SECURITY
Much research in understanding plant diseases has been undertaken, but there has been insufficient attention given to dealing with coordinated approaches to preventing and managing diseases. A global management approach is essential to the long-term sustainability of banana production. This approach would involve coordinated surveys, capacity building in developing countries, development of disease outbreak contingency plans and coordinated quarantine awareness, including on-line training in impact risk assessment and web-based diagnostic software. Free movement of banana plants and products between some banana-producing countries is causing significant pressure on the ability to manage diseases in banana. The rapid spread of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 in Asia, bacterial wilts in Africa and Asia and black leaf streak in Brazil and elsewhere are cases in point. The impact of these diseases is devastating, severely cutting family incomes and jeopardising food security around the globe. Agreements urgently need to be reached between governments to halt the movement of banana plants and products between banana-producing countries before it is too late and global food security is irreparably harmed. Black leaf streak, arguably the most serious banana disease, has become extremely difficult to control in commercial plantations in various parts of the world. Sometimes in excess of 50 fungicide sprays have to be applied each year. Disease eradication and effective disease control is not possible because there is no control of disease inoculum in non-commercial plantings in these locations. Additionally, there have been enormous sums of money invested in international banana breeding programmes over many years only to see the value of hybrid products lost too soon. Goldfinger (AAAB, syn. FHIA-01), for example, has recently been observed severely affected by black leaf streak in Samoa. Resistant cultivars alone cannot be relied upon in the fight against this disease. Real progress in control may only come when the local communities are engaged and become actively involved in regional programmes. Global recommendations are long overdue and urgently needed to help ensure the long-term sustainable utilisation of the products of the breeding programmes.
Daniells, J.W. (2009). GLOBAL BANANA DISEASE MANAGEMENT GETTING SERIOUS WITH SUSTAINABILITY AND FOOD SECURITY. Acta Hortic. 828, 411-416