Dominica attacks Black Sigatoka

One of the effects of Black Sigatoka

Dominica has now joined the ranks of Caribbean banana producing countries fighting the scourge known as the Black Sigatoka disease.

The disease, which kills banana and plantain plants, has been confirmed here, with agriculture officials admitting that they are  worried about the situation.

Calling it one of the most deadly diseases to hit the already fragile banana industry, Agriculture Minister Mathew Walter told a press conference Monday that vigorous steps will be taken to deal with the problem.

“It is one of the most destructive pests of bananas and plantains. Recently it was confirmed present in Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenada. It is with much regret that I am to advise that banana and plant health experts have intercepted the disease in Dominica,” Walter told reporters.

He said official laboratory confirmation indicates that the disease is here.

“Well before the confirmation, we activated an emergency action plan for the management and control of Black Sigatoka,” the minister said.

Fundamental actions taken to date reportedly include the activation of an emergency task force, the establishment of regional field coordination committees in each region, and the development of a management strategy for the disease.

“Even before the confirmation of the disease, cabinet had immediately released $300,000 to initiate control and management strategies,” Walter said.

He said as of this week, public awareness activities will be stepped up to inform and advice shareholders of the banana and plantain sector.

The restriction of movement of plants from one area to another, and destruction of abandoned banana and plantain fields are among measures being taken.

The Agriculture minister urged farmers, hucksters and the public to support the measures being introduced.

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  1. Tumble, back kick
    July 18, 2012

    Typical dominicans,always reactive. They had to wait so long to announce that sigatoka is in da, and only now about to throw chump change at such a disease. So when are they going to start to control this? and so many fields abandoned, there is little chance of controlling that. i deja tot tard! sel ca yo vot c’est voyager et gaspiye l’argent jardiniers! Apres parler pawol chim!

  2. MAC
    July 18, 2012

    The Americans are responsible for that Disease

    • OAT
      July 18, 2012

      Blame it on the Americans … again

  3. remember
    July 17, 2012

    i don’t believe we can handle that problem

  4. July 17, 2012

    I understood your point but lets all learn to deal with this situation and seek a speedy solution to a bigger problem down the road. It appears for some time this situation was like a best kept secret,but ready or not Black Sigatoka is at our door step.

  5. Energy
    July 17, 2012

    I find it difficult to understand why Dominica had not reported Black sigatoka long before. Sitting between Martinique and Guadeloupe, a country with high rainfall and humidity with a disease transmitted by spores. ehmm strange!

  6. July 17, 2012

    I may be rong but to me that look like leaf spot and what happen to the plane that used to spray the banana field in the seventies and late eighties.y did England switch to south America for bananas when the windword and leeword islands need their help for fertilizer .do eany one heard of chiquita bananas all in the us and UK that is cheaper produce .this is what or government need to explain to or farmers and try and do something about it .

    • Anonymous
      July 17, 2012

      Yes…Black Segatoka is a leaf spot disease of banana plants caused by ascomycete fungus….it’s like a relative (family) of the yellow leafspot….however this one is very much more destructive and aggressive….if this disease takes over Dominica our banana and plantain industry are doomed

    • uhhhhhhhhhhh
      July 17, 2012

      it’s a different type of leaf spot, what you’re speaking about is yellow sigatoka… this is an advanced strain, but you were on the right track.

    • July 17, 2012

      Yes, chiquita banana’s,.. that would be the brand in the stores here,.. 69 cents a pound,.. it is the cheapest fruit available by far, even apples grown here in Canada cost more. I am always amazed how they can sell these bananas for so cheap, when I know how large the cargo/transportation costs are to get the product here…

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