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http://www.freshfruitportal.com/2014/05/30/mozambique-panama-disease-talks-to-yield-containment-report/?country=australia

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May 30th, 2014
A development strategy to fight and contain a potentially deadly outbreak of the Tropical Race (TR4) strain of Panama Disease in Mozambique is being put together by a team of delegates who gathered in Africa last month to discuss a tactical approach to suppressing the banana disease so it doesn’t spread elsewhere on the continent. At www.freshfruitportal.com we reveal details of the workshop program ahead of an in-depth report to be published later this year.

Over the last few weeks a delegation of banana experts has been involved in discussions centering on the spread of TR4 to the African continent.

Since the fungus was discovered on a Matanuska banana plantation 15 months ago, a team of experts has joined forces to set up educational programs, while it is understood that a ‘continental action plan’ is currently being drafted.

Key players include the South African research institute Stellenbosch University, the South African Development Community (SADC), the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The program is also being supported and part funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

“When symptoms of yellowing and wilting of Cavendish bananas that appeared to be spreading were observed in an export plantation in northern Mozambique in February 2013, few would have expected the immense challenges that the following 12 months would bring,” the group has said in an initial report obtained by www.freshfruitportal.com.

“Once the cause of the symptoms was established, business became unusual for many on the continent, and indeed globally, as banana producers and their associated organizations started looking for answers to their questions and for measures to protect their crops.

“The development of a continental action plan to protect bananas in Africa became priority. Foc TR4 is not new to the banana world anymore. It has been ravaging Cavendish plantations and some local banana varieties in Asia for more than two decades.”

The document highlighted that bananas were a staple food for millions of people in Africa, and therefore it was necessary to form not only a containment strategy for the affected farm, but to make the whole continent prepared against a spread and possible reintroduction.

“This is exactly what the African meeting on TR4 intends to achieve,” the report adds.

It goes on to explain the considerable damage to Cavendish bananas and other locally-grown varieties in other countries around the world and how Mozambique needs to manage the disease outbreak.

“To prepare African countries reliant on banana for food and security and income generation, it is necessary to implement a series of informed interventions. The first priority is to contain the outbreak in northern Mozambique and prevent its spread across the region and to neighbouring countries.

“The second phase of activities is to prepare other countries dependent on banana against future incursions of this disease through enhanced plant bio-security frameworks and research capacity.

“Different types of banana germplasm, reflecting the diversity cultivated in Africa, require screening for resistance to Foc TR4, and the appropriate adoption and delivery pathways developed to provide resistant planting materials to hundreds of millions of Africans who depend on the crop for food security and income generation.”

The full report will contain further information including scientific advances and research approaches to detect and manage TR4, the potential impact TR4 will have on food availability in Africa, trans-boundary plant pest management in Africa, a mapping of the risks of any potential spread, and an overall official strategy to manage its control which sets out clear roles and responsibilities for all the institutions involved.

“This is not a task that a single research group or country can achieve. The discovery of TR4 in Mozambique is not a company or country issue. It is a continental issue which needs to be addresses by research organizations, national plant protection organizations, universities and governments throughout Africa,” the report goes on to say.

“The opportunity to develop a strategy and coordinate efforts on the continent has been made possible by much appreciated sponsorship and we thank the organizations for recognizing the importance of the outbreak and for enabling us to develop a combined strategy to deal with it.”

Meanwhile there has been somewhat of a global focus on maintaining TR4 Panama Disease this year with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations hosting a forum in Rome recently to outline the threat it poses to the international banana industry, food security and economies.

Chiquita CEO Ed Lonergan has also praised the global banana industry for its efforts to deal with TR4 and warned it would be prudent to prepare for life without the Cavendish.

www.freshfruitportal.com

 

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ABC Rural By Matt Brann

Updated Mon 12 May 2014, 1:41pm AEST
Banana Freckle disease

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PHOTO: Banana Freckle has been found in the city of Palmerston, NT (Kristy O’Brien)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-09/banana-disease-hits-palmerston/5442914

The Northern Territory city of Palmerston is in ‘banana lock-down’ after the fungal disease known as Banana Freckle was discovered in the suburb of Gray.

The NT’s Chief plant health manager, Stephen West, says the entire city has been declared a quarantine area and banana plants will have to be destroyed if they’re within one kilometre of the infected property.

“For those people that are within a five kilometre area of that property, they’ll be within what we call our control area,” he said.

“So what that basically means is that they can’t plant any new bananas and they can’t move any plant material.

“There will be some people that will lose their bananas in Palmerston.”

Mr West says no banana plant material will be allowed in or out of Palmerston while the quarantine zone is in place.

Banana Freckle was first discovered on Cavendish bananas in the Northern Territory last year, and a number of Top End areas are now under quarantine.

Around $4.4 million is being spent on trying to eradicate Banana Freckle from the Territory.

A Banana Freckle Hotline has been set up on 1800 771 163. For more information click here.

Dr Stephen West was on the NT Country Hour today to explain the ramifications of finding Banana Freckle in Palmerston, click on the audio link to hear that interview.

 

 

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See video on coconut rhinoceros beetles:

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/25386036/troubling-new-developments-in-the-war-against-an-invasive-pest

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Troubling new developments unfold in war against invasive pest

Posted: Apr 30, 2014 2:06 AM CDT
Updated: Apr 30, 2014 4:05 AM CDT
By Chelsea Davis

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) –
Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles (CRB) have been captured in new areas around O’ahu.

The latest detection was Tuesday afternoon at Ke’ehi Lagoon Park.

So are we losing the war against them?

The battle against the CRB began right before Christmas.

Now it has spread from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to other areas outside the base.

They’re a threat to an iconic image of Hawaii because the tiny pests have a voracious appetite for palm trees.

“The adult beetle will bore into the crowns of coconut trees and if enough damage is done to the coconut tree, it can actually kill the tree,” said Darcy Oishi, Hawaii State Plant Quarantine Manager.

Efforts to eradicate the pests are increasing.

In fact, traps have popped up all around the island.

Between April 12th and April 25th, surveyors found 26 adults beetles. All but two were at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. One was found at Iroquois Point, the other at Ke’ehi Lagoon Park.

“That number of detections since we started the program is actually an indicator that we’re doing a pretty good job on containing the problem,” Oishi said.

The origin of the Rhino beetle still remains a mystery.

Oishi says trying to control population and eventually eradicate the pests is priority.

“This is gonna be a long project, it’s gonna be a three year project once we eliminate all the breeding sights that we know of to monitor and make sure there are no beetles,” he said.

State quarantine officials say it’s too early to say if the beetles are here to stay.

If you see the beetle or traps that have fallen, you are asked to call the pest hotline at (808) 643-PEST.

 

 

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From: Lodi News-Sentinel

European grapevine moth quarantine lifted

Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 5:57 am, Wed Feb 29, 2012.

Lodi growers are looking forward to a reprieve from some stiff state regulations to keep the European grapevine moth under control. A quarantine over San Joaquin County agriculture will lift on March 8, though officials say some controls will remain in place to monitor the pest. Quarantines were also lifted from Fresno, Merced and Mendocino counties.

“Thank God they lifted the quarantine,” said Joe Valente, vineyard and orchard manager for Kautz Farms. “We had to treat those sections different for a couple years.”

Working within the regulations added up to more work for growers.

Kautz Farms has a few acres directly affected by quarantine and a few other fields within 1,000 meters of the area. Those zones had to be treated with special pesticides. Harvesters and other equipment had to be cleaned after use at each field within the quarantined area, a 96-square-mile zone surrounding Lodi. For growers shipping freshly packed wine grapes and other produce, there was an added hurdle of paperwork. The regulations extended through the industry from growers to wineries.

About 660,000 acres will be released from quaratine.

The Lodi District Grape Growers Association complimented the coordination between the San Joaquin County Agriculture Commission, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the USDA to keep on top of the quarantine.

Amy Blagg, executive director, recalled the challenges of new regulations in August 2010, just before that year’s harvest.

“It took a lot of cooperation to make sure everyone was working under the compliance agreements,” said Blagg.

Two pests still require quarantine regulations. Part of the confusion was in meeting the correct requirements for the Oriental fruit fly, light brown apple moth and the European grapevine moth.

The problem with the moth is the larvae will burrow inside maturing fruit and leave an open wound prone to rot. While only two moths were found in the Lodi area, it was enough to trigger the strict quarantine.

But Scott Hudson, agricultural commissioner for San Joaquin County, is confident the pest is gone.

A trapping program will continue for the 2012 growing season. Five thousand moth traps will be placed by Friday.

“It’s such a pest of concern. This is extra insurance that we are free by trapping another season,” said Hudson, adding that some kind of trapping program will continue was long as the pest is in the state.

Those traps will be paid for in part by $8 million in federal funding to continue the program, announced U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack. The funds go to continue the program in all four counties where the quarantine was lifted.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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