Dole reveals new strategy in fighting banana disease

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Dole reveals new strategy in fighting banana disease

The large fruit retailer shared it's new efforts last week to combat the Fusarium Tropical Race 4 (TR4) in banana plants, a huge threat to banana crops worldwide, reported BusinessWire.

Dole aggressively implemented measures against the deadly disease in 2019 when a wave of TR4 hit plants in Colombia.

Its response plan throughout the region of Latin America has involved work both from local government and the corporation to maintain banana yields and prevent the devastating effects of the disease.

To do so, Dole created a three-year containment program as its primary protocol for biosecurity on each and every farm.

Best practices put into action on these farms replicate the measures put in place in other banana producing regions across the world where TR4 has been successfully contained.

On the subject of furthered efforts to eradicate the disease, Dole representative said that "containment alone is not sufficient,". In order to combat the fusarium's potential impact on banana production, the industry "must find ways to move beyond defense and find a sustainable solution to this issue in the long-term," they went on.

The newly rolled out mitigation plan comprises various potential resolutions, said Dole in the statement. Currently, containing the disease requires significant investment both from independent banana growers and from governmnet initiatives.

So far, since measures were created in 2019, no cases of TR4 have been found outside of the area in Colombia that first became infected.

"Fortunately to date, the spread of this disease in Latin America has been contained to only La Guajira region of Colombia, but this issue is not isolated to one region or one banana grower; it affects the entire industry and we must all be vigilant, Patricio Guitiérrez of Dole Tropical Products told the publication.

Along with working with research institutions in finding a disease resistant banana variety, the company said it is developing a consortium dedicated specifically to making progress on this front. This work with the Honduran Research Foundation (FHIA) has been in progress since 2016 and is constantly working to find a banana solution to fighting the disease.

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