Dominican Republic raises stakes in banana disease fight
Dominican Republic banana Grower associations have begun a spray program across 150,000 'tareas' (9,375 hectares) of plantations in a bid to destroy Black Sigatoka disease, website Diariolibre.com.do reported.
The program began over the weekend in the Castañuelas municipality in the province of Montecristi, which hosts 10,000 tareas (625 hectares) of organic bananas.
The story reported fumigation plans were also in place for the province of Valverde, which hosts 140,000 tareas (8,750 hectares).
These two northern provinces have been the most heavily hit by the disease, losing an estimated 42% of production.
The story reported growers fumigated their farms bi-monthly prior to mid-2011, but the process is now needed every 15-30 days if the US$200 million industry is to maintain its livelihood.
Castañuelas Banana Producers Association president José Humberto Cabreja, told the website the Ministry of Agriculture delivered 740 liters of fungicide to the industry.
The Ministry of Agriculture plans to deliver "hundreds of liters" of fungicide to the community of La Canela in Santiago this coming weekend.
In 2011, the Dominican Republic exported 300,000 metric tons (MT) of the fruit.
Related story: Dominican Republic losing US$1.2M a week from banana disease