by Charles Gladden
CENTRAL FARM, Cayo District, Mon. Nov. 14, 2022
The Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, Hon. Jose Mai, and His Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), David Kuan-Chou Chien, signed the Belize Cooperation Agreement for the execution of the “Regional Project for the Prevention and Control of Fusarium Tropical Race 4 of Banana in Central America” on Thursday, November 10.
The Fusarium Tropical Race 4 is a soil-borne pathogen that attacks the roots of bananas, causing the Banana Fusarium Wilt disease by clogging its vascular system. The fungus can survive for more than 30 years in the soil, and so far, no cure has been found.
An investment of 6 million BZD will be given to the participating countries – Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize – during the period of the project to advance studies and activities to prevent and deal with the Foc TR4 disease of bananas, which includes international virtual forums with experts from Taiwan; face-to-face national fora; and technical training sessions for the 3 countries that will strengthen capacities in symptomatology and biosecurity measures.
“We will know the interest of this disease as early as possible and [importantly] the resistance variety. The variety was developed by Taiwan, but now we will import from South Africa, because that’s a free area for diseases. As you know, in Taiwan, we have already survived this disease for many years, but it still affects us; that’s why we imported the variety from South Africa,” said the manager of the Regional Fusarium Prevention and Control Project, Miguel Chen.
The signing took place at Taiwan Technical Mission headquarters at Central Farm, Cayo District.