Action plan in place to eradicate Black Sigatoka

A banana leaf affected by Black Sigatoka
A banana leaf affected by Black Sigatoka

The Ministry of Agriculture, together with the Dominica National Fairtrade Organization, has put systems in place to manage the spread of Black Sigatoka on the island.

Black Sigatoka which is a leaf spot disease affecting banana and plantain plants was first sighted on Dominica last year.

Head of the Plant Protection Unit within the Division of Agriculture Ryan Anselm, told GIS news that an action plan has been put in place to manage the disease.

“It’s an action plan that speaks to sanitation, nutrition, quarantine and chemical control. We have successfully done three cycles of chemicals, where we try to rotate the chemicals that we use,” he said.

Anselm revealed that the Division of Agriculture over the past months has been using spraying methods to get rid of affected plants.

“We have sprayed approximately 2,300 acres of bananas and plantain all over the island,” confirmed Anselm.

He appealed to affected farmers to work closely with the Division of Agriculture in riding the country of the dreaded disease.

Anselm stressed that there are practices which farmers must adhere to.

“We are also asking the farmers to come on board with the Division of Agriculture to do the sanitation practice.  In addition we are asking the farmers to do the de-leafing since it is a key strategy in managing the disease,” he stated.

“If you remove the infested leaves you will eliminate the amount of inoculum in the field,” explained Anselm.

He stressed that farmers should refrain from moving trashing material from one place to another.

“We still have farmers bringing dry trash to cushion their bananas and plantains to the market and this is a dangerous practice. We are asking farmers and hucksters and everyone involved to refrain from doing that because the disease itself can be spread by that,” he said.

Anselm added that the movement of farm workers from one farm to another is a practice which should be discontinued.

“We are asking farmers whose farms are infested with Black Sigatoka, that  farm workers should disinfect their tools and wash their clothing before going to another field,” stated Anselm.

The Government of Dominica recently received an injection of $2.4 million from the EU Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) to manage the Black Sigatoka Disease.

Organizations such as, CARICOM, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) through a regional project have also been steadfast in assisting with the management of the disease.

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6 Comments

  1. Karen
    July 27, 2013

    And how will the spraying of fungicides affect our bees? our frogs? the whole chain of life — including fungi — that make agriculture possible (without massive chemical inputs)? How does such spraying fit with the Nature Island concept? How much (and who and what) gets sacrificed so the failing banana industry can get another bandaid?

  2. Tumble back kick
    July 25, 2013

    Really, irradicate Sigatoka? How? With three cycles of fungicides, big joke! Control the spread not irradicate.
    Remember to spray the balizye in the bush too!

  3. burtdave
    July 24, 2013

    The headline eradicate is already misleading, this disease can be managed not eradicated. I am not a banana expert, but the little I know when we attended the sensitisation workshop that was held in which customs was invited, the way this disease affects the plant we have lost the battle. Three cycles from July 2012? We were told that for the yellow leafspot they were spraying at least 28 days, and for black it had to be much more frequent. Our readiness for such eventually is more talk than budget allocation to deal with these disease.Bananas and plantains now under pressure. Th emergency action plan had no urgency in it and so the east and other areas are now seriously affected and these people are now talking none-sense about eradication

  4. wotty
    July 24, 2013

    sorry it is fieldes and bad

  5. wotty
    July 24, 2013

    the fildes are very bay now you all are staying to long to give the workers the oil to spary keep your words sir if you want the farmers to help

  6. July 24, 2013

    What is the exact cause of this disease? My banana plants had the same issue in Florida. I fertilized, and there was a lot of rain for the past two months. I see a change.

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