The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the ICA have made an urgent call to the banana and plantain producers of the departments of La Guajira, Cesar, Norte de Santander, Boyacá, Arauca, Vichada, and Guainía, which are located on the border area with Venezuela, to reinforce the prevention, surveillance, and biosecurity actions in their properties after the presence of the Fusarium R4T disease has been confirmed in Venezuela.
The information was issued by the National Institute of Comprehensive Agricultural Health (INSAI) of Venezuela. The ICA asks all producers and travelers to refrain from mobilizing banana and plantain material, as well as handicrafts and other objects made with by-products of Musaceae from Venezuela because of the risk they pose for the country's production sector.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the ICA, and the national and departmental authorities in this border area have issued the following recommendations, among others, to prevent the spread of the disease:
Under no circumstance should producers bring bananas, plantain, or heliconia products or by-products from Venezuela.
Any person that visited a banana or plantain farm in Venezuela must conduct thorough disinfection of his or her clothing, footwear, tools, and personal objects. In addition, he or she must not visit producer farms in Colombia for a minimum of 6 months.
Producers should control the entry of plant material to their farms. Using material from the same farm and preferably in vitro.
Only using propagation material from nurseries with ICA Registration.
Having unique and controlled entry and exit points for vehicles and people.
Disinfecting the vehicles and people at the farm's entry and exit points.
Keeping records of the people that enter the farm, identifying their origin and destination.
Providing the farm's own footwear to visitors and workers.
Providing work clothes for exclusive use on the farm.
The farm must have its own tools and they must be disinfected during cultivation tasks.
Having areas for washing boots inside the farm.
Periodically training the farm's workers on the disease.
Not allowing people that don't work on the farm or are transiting the area to enter the farm.
The Ministry of Agriculture and the ICA, with the technical cooperation of AGROSAVIA, and in conjunction with producer associations, such as Augura, Asbama, and Asohofrucol, work on surveillance, diagnosis, biosafety, risk communication, and contingency actions to prevent the advance of the Fusarium R4T disease and to maintain the country's banana and plantain production.