The Fusarium Race 4 has once again put the region on alert, this time due to an unconfirmed alarm of the presence of the fungus in Venezuela. On April 7, there already was a detection in Peru. Kléber Sigüenza, director of the Chamber of Agriculture of the Second Zone of Ecuador, said this in a statement last Tuesday, during a virtual conversation between the banana cluster and the media.
As the world’s number one banana exporter, Ecuador is on high alert for its vital crop as its neighbor Peru is grappling with an outbreak of a fungus deadly to that particular crop. Ecuador is sandwiched between two South American nations that have a presence of the incurable banana affliction, with the fungus first reaching Colombia in 2019.
An Innisfail banana grower has claimed that there is not enough government support after freak winds devastated the region's farms six weeks ago. Dianne Sciacca and her husband had 40 hectares of bananas wiped out by winds associated with Tropical Cyclone Niran. Another 1,200 hectares between Cairns and Silkwood were affected as well.
According to banana producers from Los Rios, the cold weather that is still affecting several areas of the province, the torrential rains there are in the country, and the recent activity of the volcano have significantly lowered the supply of bananas, affecting the cost that exporters must pay for Ecuadorian fruit.
After inspecting the aftermath and speaking with farmers on the ground near Innisfail last week, opposition leader David Crisafulli said the situation was dire with labour shortages compounding the problem: "These farmers want short-term help, while in the long term they want an end to the issues with workers. They're not asking for any special treatment."
Banana prices could increase several dollars a kilogram as far northern Queensland farmers assess more than $180 million in crop damage after Cyclone Niran hit the coast this week. Cyclone Larry in 2006 and Cyclone Yasi in 2011 caused banana prices to jump from $2 a kilogram to as much as $14 a kilogram in 2011 and that price range could be expected again.
Nendran bananas, marketed mainly in Kerala, have been grown on some 3,000 hectares in the district in the current season (2020-21), up by 500 hectares over the previous season. Availability of sufficient water sources had motivated the farmers to bring more area under nendran cultivation during the current season.
Garcia-Bastidas says before the rise of the current global commercial banana called Cavendish, there was another type of banana, known as Gros Michel, but it's not used for global trade anymore because a fungus called Fusarium, which causes Panama Disease and wipes out crops that don't have immunity.
A highly destructive fungal disease known for wiping out entire banana crops, is devastating plantations on the New South Wales Mid North Coast, putting local supply in jeopardy. The disease, Panama disease race 1, is threatening a banana supply shortage of the Lady Finger and Ducasse banana varieties.
The floods that have ravaged Tabasco this year have strongly impacted the state's banana production. The president of the National Council of the Banana Product System, Adrian Prats Leal, stated that the floods had affected more than 4,500 hectares, 4,000 hectares of which had total losses, which led to a 40% decrease in exports.
The president of the National Banana Board (JNB), Valentin Ruiz Delgado, said that this year's national production of organic bananas would be 10% smaller in volume than the production of 2019 as a result of the restrictions generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and the mismanagement of water resources.
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