Brazilian research group targets banana disease
A Brazilian state government enterprise has embarked on a study into the effects of bio fertilizers on banana plantations, in a bid to tackle leaf spot disease black sigatoka.
The Brazilian study was initiated by the Mato Grosso Research, Assistance and Rural Extension Enterprise, using silicon bio fertilization on infected plants near the western city of Cáceres.
The project is headed up by Humberto Carvalho Marcilio, who said organic systems thrive off farming methods that show respect for natural processes, so bio fertilizers can help assist foliage growth and control diseases by providing supplementary nutrients.
The study is expected to deliver results in 2012, which will be directed towards agricultural families who do not fertilize their crops in this way.
“The plant is malnourished and stressed out and can’t put up with the onslaught of diseases. This (study) is another alternative fertilization at a lower cost that does not harm the environment and can be used by small farmers,” Marcilio said in a release by the Mato Grosso government.
“We are seeking a cultural system that is more balanced and able to meet the domestic demand of the municipalities themselves, reducing tax evasion and generating income alternatives with less impact on the environment.”
He said the study aimed to dramatically reduce the use of pesticides in farming, generate information about the black sigatoka disease and ensure the sustainability of banana crops in Mato Grosso.
According to the press release, black sigatoka can cause losses of up to 70% of production in areas where it breaks out, so further outbreaks could lead to the need for Brazil to import for the domestic market.
Brazil produces around 6.9 million metric tons (MT) worth of bananas each year over 505,000 hectares of land.