Climatic conditions for good banana growth, Sigatoka spread are the same – Senior Agricultural Officer
February 5, 2013
Climatic conditions for good banana growth, Sigatoka spread are the same – Senior Agricultural Officer

The climatic conditions that favour the growth and spread of the Black Sigatoka disease are the same as for proper banana growth.{{more}}

This information was disclosed to farmers at the Second St Vincent and the Grenadines Forum last Tuesday, at the Methodist Church Hall.

The one-day workshop was organised by the Caribbean Agro-Meteorological Initiative (CAMI), with the objective of increasing and sustaining agricultural productivity at the farm level in the region, through improved dissemination and application of weather and climate information, using an integrated and coordinated approach.

Sylvanus Vanloo, senior agricultural officer, said the climatic changes which affected banana growth include temperature, rainfall, and winds.

He said that the optimum temperature required to facilitate plant growth is 23 degrees Centigrade.

Soil temperature is also a significant factor and should be at least 25 degrees Centigrade.

But then the Black Sigatoka disease is affected by rainfall, humidity and temperature.

“The same conditions required for good banana growth are the same conditions required for the spread of the Black Sigatoka,” Vanloo said.

And St Vincent is a relatively cool country and the spores, Vanloo said, are transported by water or wind.

“Any spore landing on a leaf and the conditions are right can begin spreading in two or three hours,” he continued.

And Lisa Kirton Reed said the project is expected to assist Caribbean farmers by providing information on predictors of the rainy season potential and development of effective pest and disease forecasting systems for improved on-farm management decisions.

The information will come through the regional network of Meteorological and Agricultural Services and research institutes.

“Some of the things we have been doing is using climatic models to enable to make rainfall predictions,” Kirton explained.

The three-year programme was launched in February 2010.

At the end, a user-friendly weather and climate information newsletter is expected to be distributed to promote a better understanding of the applications of weather and climatic conditions and to obtain feedback to provide better products from the meteorological services, she said. (DD)