Black Sigatoka tolerant bananas harvested in Dominica

The new varieties on display on Friday morning
The new varieties on display on Friday morning

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, has successfully harvested in Dominica types of banana and plantain, which are tolerant to the Black Sigatoka disease.

CARDI Research Assistant, Gregory Linton, noted that the crops—referred to as ‘FHIA’— unlike the local Cavendish, do not allow Black Sigatoka to progress past its second stage of development.

The first harvest of FHIA bananas in Dominica, dubbed by the numbers one, three , 18, and 23 were publicly sampled here on Friday.

“What we have noticed on our FHIA bananas — on basically all of them — is that you don’t have the later stages being developed. So, like the stage three, four, five, they generally don’t develop,” Linton told DNO on Friday morning. “So, that’s why we prefer to call them tolerant instead of resistant because they will be infected by the disease, they will be affected, but the disease, its cycle cannot progress because of the nature of the plant.”

The plants were tested by leaving them exposed to Black Sigatoka-infected Cavendish variety of banana plants present on the island.

Linton articulated that the success of the crops depends largely on the response of the public.

“We can have a very productive fruit — a very disease-tolerant fruit — if people don’t like it, it doesn’t make any sense…” he said. “It depends on the consumers. In terms of production, they are very productive, they are very disease-tolerant, but the taste, the texture, it might not be as appealing to some people as the traditional Cavendish, which is what we are accustomed to,” he stated.

He remarked that stakeholders hope to explore the export market, particularly in Latin-American countries, where the FHIA has replaced the traditional susceptible plantain variety. However, he said that the FHIA 3, 18, and 23 are not very commercial.

Linton added that the public will be allowed to do further sampling, and, based on their responses, a few varieties of the crops will be selected for mass production when the project comes to an end, in December 2016.

The suckers will then be distributed to relevant farmers.

The disease is said to develop in six stages: small specks (stage 1) which become streaks (stages 2 and 3) running parallel to the leaf veins. The streaks aggregate and eventually form spots that coalesce, form a chlorotic halo, and merge to cause extensive necrosis (stages 4, 5, and 6).

The Black Sigatoka disease confirmed in Dominica in 2012, is a leaf-spot disease of banana plants caused by the ascomycete fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis (Morelet).

The initiative was first introduced in January 2015, and the plants were transplanted to fields in June 2015.

The plants, Linton said, were initially imported from St. Vincent.


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    May 3, 2016

    truely they look much more like cocoy

  2. Concerned Dominican
    May 1, 2016

    They certainly look like a mix between bananas and cocoy!! May it assist in the revitalisation of the industry in our beloved country!!

  3. Tjebe Fort
    May 1, 2016

    Are these bananas from the plantlets we received from France or is this something else. Thgis looks similar to banane figue I grow in my garden without any problem.

  4. Malgraysa
    May 1, 2016

    This is a step forward but we are still in trouble if the European market (read U.K.) does not
    accept these crossbreeds. What type is successfully exported to that market by St. Lucia or to France ( and the wider E.U.) by Guadeloupe and Martinique. I think that should be our target.
    Personally, I have nothing against cocoy but it is an acquired taste and its end use is limited, hence affecting its price.

  5. April 30, 2016

    I kno that place man very nice people

  6. April 30, 2016

    Thanks bro that’s good to kno I will cal u on Monday I need some insurance

  7. April 30, 2016

    Proud of yourGod guided selfless work throughout CARICOM SJ (Sharon Jones)
    Where ever He leads you you willingly serve to empower the grassroots people.

  8. SN
    April 30, 2016

    How is this not genetically modified, when two separate species are merged to form a new species? By any definition, it is genetic modification. What it is not, however, is scientific chemical modification.

  9. jonathan st jean
    April 30, 2016

    Since St Lucia had Black Sigatoka and successfully changed the variety to one accepted by the public and the market, why are we trying to reinvent the wheel. Makes no sense as St Lucia is is in the same geographical location as we are.Waste of time if you ask me

  10. anonymous2
    April 30, 2016

    Hybridization does involve genetic modification via polleniztion. F1 hybrids can be produced in 1 generation. However there is a problem with F1 hybrids, they produce what you want for only their generation. Future generations have a lot more variability. However, knowing that Honduras is a very poor country, I am sure that the UN has had influence in the way of providing money for this ‘research.’ The disease is a fungus.
    I would have to know what their process was in order to know if it was GMO or not. What they tell these people and what the truth is may be two different things.

  11. eat em
    April 29, 2016

    I’ll stay with my lowbrid still. Too much tampering with what God gave us.

  12. April 29, 2016

    It must be Friday, we can refer to them as{ Banana, and plaintain on Steriod.} Just joking! we already afected and asleep any way.

  13. April 29, 2016

    Looking good. Send me some up in the USA so, I could make me a broth.

  14. No Dread
    April 29, 2016

    I good..with that makeup fig there dready…. Rasta man only eat ital food,natural food not makeup ting. I hope dem people know that we plant natural so stay Roseau and Portsmouth with that makeup fig. What it have in it that killing them disease we need to ask? Can it affect us from eating it in the long term? If you can’t say or don’t know for sure then I go continue eat my natural fig from DA.
    Bless up

  15. Lookme
    April 29, 2016

    Let’s hope it’s really not GMO. As Monsano has affiliation with many different organizations and countries throughout the world. These people are trying their best to change our foods and use this as a form of population control. I’m not saying that’s what’s going on here however this article says very little about the origin of this FHIA bananas. What exactly are they? Anyway,they done pushing it and bigging it up,just like them Monsano people want.

  16. SJ
    April 29, 2016

    Certainly NOT GMO. These varieties were developed in Honduras by Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agrícola is the Spanish name of the Honduran Agricultural Research Foundation, better known by its acronym FHIA. Its banana and plantain programme is known for being the first breeding programme to have delivered disease-resistant hybrids to farmers. Breeding is done by traditional methods.

    Congratulations to CARDI through funding form the CDB and support from the Division of Agriculture for their work!

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      April 29, 2016

      So, what happened to the plants from France?

    • jo
      April 29, 2016

      The french is also working on tolerant banana varieties to eventually replace the cavendish variety and the largest collection of banana varieties is fond in Guadeloupe. some ot these varieties were sent to dominica, saint lucia and saint vincent , dominica lost their stock du to flooding in layou.

    • Dominican
      May 3, 2016

      Jo, i can not believe the story that the Min. of Agriculture lost their stock of plantlets from France due to Flooding In Layou. The first batch of 20,000 out of total 60,000) arrived in Dominica the first week of April last year, to be ready to be distributed to farmers in June (see GIS of 13 April, 2015). Tropical storm Erica did not hit us till end of August so that does not add up. I suspect these plantlets died through negligence. I wish they would tell us the truth for once. That Anselm fellow is just a big talker.

  17. jungle
    April 29, 2016

    This sounds like great news. We all hope it is true!

    • FORKIT
      May 3, 2016

      ya but you have to RED to get the plants.

  18. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    April 29, 2016

    “The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, has successfully harvested in Dominica types of banana and plantain, which are tolerant to the Black Sigatoka disease.”

    That may be as they appear to be genetically altered; as one can see they do not appear as a normal banana, or plantain. What effect will it have on humans physiologically when they are eaten?

    Are they going to produce a new strain of cancer or some other incurable disease?

    • Fedup
      April 29, 2016

      Go bury your head under the sand somewhere you eternal pessimist! Or better yet, stick to commenting on pressing issues in your adopted homeland like how you guys are going to survive under your racist, moron next president Donald Trump.

      • Brain Defense
        May 16, 2016

        Calm down, please! You shouldn’t call people “eternal pessimists”, whether it’s true or not! :-D

        Plus, this time, Francisco ‘ comment actually makes sense.

        Although Francisco, please note that not all GMO products are bad, they are just altered.

        Hope I helped
        -Brain Defense- :-D

      • diasporadefence
        June 6, 2016

        Um..excuse you!!!
        who said donald trump is the USA’s president???
        Geez man…gotta put foreign politics in things all the time… :-?
        and no..i am not a hipocryte…i am a proud american!! 8)

    • jo
      April 29, 2016

      Low minded individual. There are over 400 varietés of bananas, most of them you’ve never seen or heard off . Go google bananas and you’ll see for yourself, while you at it check “hybride banana” too.

    • Confused Wanderer
      April 30, 2016

      I am sure that you are aware of the effect which Black Sigatoka has on bananas. If CARDI and the MOA have found a way to make a resistant species, then we should support them. the world is evolving, and you might just have to accept that. Although, I agree with your statement but scientists seem to find cures for almost all of the diseases which they have made. If anything goes wrong with these bananas, then blame it on the creators, no? :-D

  19. Dawn of Justice
    April 29, 2016

    Are these GMO?

    • Pk
      April 29, 2016

      No they are not. They are hybrids bred by crossing other bananas and some with cocoy.

  20. April 29, 2016

    That is good news and hope it lasts..

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