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Panama Disease Epidemic - TaiwanICDF helps Central American Friendly Nations from going “Bananas”

Panama Disease Epidemic - TaiwanICDF helps Central American Friendly Nations from going “Bananas”

Banana, one of the most common fruits, is an USD 13.6 Billion global business as of 2018, and a major industry for many of our friendly relations in Central America. Recently, global supply of banana came under the threat of Tropical Race 4 (TR4), a new strain of fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp cubense (FOC) that causes Fusarium wilt (aka Panama Disease). This Asian-originated disease is lethal and highly contagious for the plant. To date, European and Central American farms have not experience widespread reports of FOC TR4, but a case was confirmed in Columbia in August 2019. In response, The International Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health (Organismo Internacional Regional de Sanidad Agropecuaria, ORISA) has partnered with the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) to identify solutions for the prevention and containment of FOC TR4. The two organizations previously worked together to successfully contain citrus HLB disease outbreak in 2012, and the relationship continues as we fight against FOC TR4 in Latin American region with Republic of China (TAIWAN) providing expertise and field experience.

In February 2020, TaiwanICDF delegation led by Dr. Chao, Chih-Ping, director of Taiwan Banana Research Institute (TBRI), and Dr. Hong, Ting-Hsuan, head of department of Phytopathology and Microbiology at National Taiwan University (NTU) visited Guatemala, Belize, and Hondura, together with OIRSA. The delegation’s findings and suggestions were well received by local governmental agencies and banana industry representatives. Banana producers from nearby region Ecuador and Colombia also came to online seminars where the Taiwan delegation shared its findings.

Taiwan first discovered FOC TR4 in the 1960s, and has since co-existed with the disease for 40-plus years. Taiwan’s world-renowned expertise in banana production is the result of a) National Taiwan University (NTU) Phytopathology and Microbiology departments, experts in fungal disease diagnosis and behavior, and b) Taiwan Banana Research Institution (TNRI), holder of rare TR4-resistant varieties available for American farms. In response to concerns regarding banana production in Latin America, we confidently say "TAIWAN can help!"

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  • Date:2020/3/3