September 30, 2011
Stakeholders see ‘spray’ of hope

Stakeholders in the banana industry are optimistic that the arrival of 5,000 gallons of Spraytex will be a ray of hope for the battered banana industry.{{more}}

The oil, which is used with other fungicides to fight the banana and plantain leaf spot disease Black Sigatoka, finally arrived here on the evening of Tuesday, September 27, after months of delay.

The absence of the oil caused a delay in the air spraying of banana fields, resulting in an uncontrolled outbreak of the disease, which, according to banana officials, has ravaged the majority of plantations in the country, which led to low regional and international exports and little to no revenue for most farmers.

According to Ministry of Agriculture officials, the banana spray plane took to the air on the evening of Wednesday, September 28, in an operation which is expected to last two weeks.

Air spraying, ‘cutting back’ of affected plants and ground spraying are said to be the most effective means of controlling the disease, which reared its ugly head here in 2009.

Banana farmers and their representative bodies are hoping that the Ministry of Agriculture will maintain air spraying operations of the banana plants.

Officials representing the farmers are also calling for compensation for those farmers who have been affected by the disease since 2009.(JJ)