Five regional countries, including Dominica, now being affected by the Black Sigatoka Disease are in the process of putting together a Regional integrated programme for the management of the dreaded disease.
They are optimistic that the plan can be ready for full implementation by January 2013.
Black Sigatoka is a growing threat to regional banana and plantain industries and regional stakeholders have agreed that an effective management programme is essential for the adequate production of quality fruit.
On Thursday, August 16 regional stakeholders met with officials of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and other partners including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Caribbean Research and Development Institute (CARDI) to discuss a joint response to the emergency via a virtual tele-conference.
IICA’s local technical specialist Ken Coipel said the tele-conference forms part of a wider regional initiative in tackling the disease.
“What we have had is a number of requests from Governments through organizations such as IICA, CARDI, the FAO and CARICOM for assistance to address the Black Sigatoka problem. What these institutions are doing is to work together to ensure that, what is being proposed at the national level will certainly be one that is sustainable and will bring about greater efficiency in the way we go about managing Black Sigatoka,” he said.
Coipel explains that Thursday’s tele-conference exposed participants to the experiences of countries which have been affected by Black Sigatoka.
“Today we are having a virtual seminar whereby we have brought in experts to discuss issues as it relates to Black Sigatoka, some of the case studies from the Latin American countries as well as to create an opportunity for dialogue between stakeholders of the various countries now being affected by the disease,” he explained.
Meanwhile the FAO is currently conducting country assessments of Black Sigatoka which will guide the activities in dealing with the disease.
Dr. Luis Vicente Perez, a Cuban consultant working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will visit Dominica during the first week of September to determine the state of emergency and propose joint activities designed to control the spread of the Black Sigatoka.
While on the island, the consultant will look at control practices and elimination of the inoculums affecting the banana and plantain plants. The consultant will also look at cultural practices, field sanitation, monitoring and bio-climatic warning signs.
The FAO has already completed its Black Sigatoka assessment in St. Vincent.
Regional countries now affected by the Black Sigatoka include Grenada, Guyana, St.Lucia, St.Vincent and Dominica.
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