Tropical Race 4 of Foc threatens the global banana industry
A satellite workshop on Foc TR4, the dreaded disease of banana, will be organized during the ICB 2020 on 24th February with all stakeholders.
Fusarium wilt of banana, commonly called as “Panama wilt” is lethal to banana as it systematically invades the plant, causes wilting and ultimately kills the plant. The causal organism is Fusarium oxysporum f.sp.cubense (Foc). There are three races known in Foc. Race - 1 infects Silk, Pome, Pisang Awak, Ney Poovan and Gros Michel, which was ruling the export trade in 1950’s. Due to Foc Race - 1, Gros Michel became near extinct and high yielding Cavendish bananas replaced this variety for export. In 1980’s a virulent race, Tropical Race - 4 emerged in Taiwan on Cavendish bananas. Now this TR - 4 Race has spread to China, Australia, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Mozambique and Pakistan. It has been recently detected in Colombia. A global team of banana scientists is working intensively to identify resistant varieties through various approaches. Global experts on Foc especially TR4 will be deliberating on various issues on the management of the wilt.
In India, sensitisation workshops have been conducted to avert the spread of this disease from Bihar & Uttar Pradesh. ICAR-NRCB is working on a warfooting to combat the disease in collaboration with International Institutes. The ICAR is keen on managing the disease through multiple approaches and efforts are on to control the disease spread and its damage.