Chiquita supporting 'first global scientific exchange' on TR4

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Chiquita supporting 'first global scientific exchange' on TR4

Banana multinational Chiquita and the Dutch Wageningen University & Research are supporting a global scientific congress in an effort to combat Panama disease Tropical Race 4.

Chiquita highlighted the urgent action required to halt the spread of the devastating disease that is killing crops of the widely cultivated Cavendish variety around the world.

In a release, the company said it is helping to bring leading scientists, researchers, industry players and institutions together to address this impending threat.

They will meet in Boston on July 28 as part of the International Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP) to discuss the current status of research and development and how TR4 can be dealt with, Chiquita said.

This will be the "first global scientific exchange on the subject, bringing together approximately 100 specialists in this area", it added, with 15 speakers due to share their findings.

A section called 'Plant Life in a Global Economy' will be led by Professor Gert Kema from Wageningen and Prof. André Drenth from the University of Queensland in Australia. 

With no effective treatment for the TR4 once it has infected a banana plant, the only countermeasure is to prevent the transfer of infested soil, infected plants and contaminated materials to clean areas. Chiquita therefore wants to find a "permanent solution".

The opening address at the congress will be made by Chiquita CEO Andrew Biles.

“In our globally connected world TR4 knows no boundaries. The spread of the disease, mainly in the East, is well documented by the FAO  [United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization]. It is indiscriminate and effects farms small and large, rich and poor," he said.

"It is our desire to assist in finding an enduring solution to this threat for all the banana industry. Banana production will not cease but could be significantly impaired. It is now time to act together."


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