According to Colombia’s agricultural institute ICA (Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario), growers and organizations must leap into action in order to save banana crops in the department of Quindío. The moko bacterium is threatening to wipe out plantations.
“Quindío will end up without bananas if action isn’t taken immediately,” warns Carlos Alberto Soto Rave, in charge of plant protection at ICA. “Producers have to step up, take responsibility and use ICA protocols to battle possible contagion.” Out of 29,000 plants, 150 have been infected. “That may seem little, but this infection spreads like wildfire. Many producers fail to report the plague altogether.”
Teresita Beltrán Ospina, manager at ICA, confirms that some growers hide the problem, adding to an already troubled situation. “Producers should be made aware that ICA protocols have to be followed.” All the institute can do now is to disinfect affected areas and to initiate an awareness campaign. Starting in 2013, drastic sanctions are imposed on growers not adhering to protocol. “The worst one being to quarantine the farm, sealing it off completely.”
Phytosanitary inspections will check plant material being transported using 4 control points in strategic areas of the Department.