Two Colombian banana farms are under quarantine due to their suspected infection with Fusarium Wilt Tropical Race 4 (TR4), FreshFruitPortal.com understands, although there has been no official confirmation by Colombian authorities.
In two resolutions that have since been deleted on the website of the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA), single-line preview statements said that two farms have been quarantined "due to the presence of symptoms associated with [TR4]". The full resolutions can no longer be accessed on the website.
The farms - Don Marce and Eva Norte - are located in the northern department of La Guajira, close to the border with Venezuela.
ICA representatives contacted by FreshFruitPortal.com were unable to speak about the matter, but a source in the Colombian banana industry said that tests were currently being carried out to establish whether or not the plantations are infected with TR4.
Ecuadorian news website Expreso [in Spanish] claims that it has been able to access the now-unavailable documents, which it says provide information on the situation, including wide-ranging measures to prevent the disease from spreading.
Fusarium wilt of banana is a disease caused by the soil-borne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense.
If confirmed, the detection of TR4 would be a huge blow to Latin America's banana industry. The disease, which is extremely contagious and has devastated banana industries around the world, affects the roots of banana plants and eventually causes the plants to die.
It is understood that ICA is preparing a statement on the matter.