Brazil: Black Sigatoka costs remain high
The disease first appeared in Brazil in 1998 in the state of Amazonas near the border with Colombia and Peru. It is now present across several Brazilian states in the north, midwest, south and southeast.
Brazil has worked to develop and plant banana varieties resistant to Black Sigatoka. In certain parts of Brazil, however, the disease remains the greatest threat to banana production.
The Ribeira Valley accounts for 70% of Sao Paulo's banana production, according to Globo.com. One producer from the area told the publication that from November and March, growers must sell their fruit at prices below production cost.
To ward off the disease, producers tend to spray their crops aerially every 45 days. Without better investment in disease prevention, management costs have become difficult to maintain.
Recent cold weather has also hurt production in the area and damaged fruit appearance.
A kilo of plantains from the valley currently sell for R$0.71 (US$0.31). The Prata banana is selling for R$1.23 (US$0.54). The prices are the same as last season, according to Globo.com.