Venezuela faces a new threat as Fusarium tropical race 4 infects banana and plantain crops. According to a United Nations assessment, the country is already dealing with an economic catastrophe, with just under 23% of the population experiencing hunger.
Currently, the central states of Aragua, Carabobo, and Cojedes have been home to the fungus, which slowly dries off plants and contaminates the soil. The situation is particularly concerning for small-scale farmers, as bananas and plantains are not only a source of income but also a source of carbohydrates.
The fungus has affected about 150 hectares and around 1,000 small producers so far, according to the FAO. Fusarium can only be eliminated by removing sick plants and replacing them with grains or maize that are resistant to the fungus.