November 29, 2013
Securing banana recovery through disease management training

Efforts to modernise and develop SVG’s agriculture sector continued last week with specialised training for the key players in the fight against the black sigatoka disease.{{more}}

Spray men, assessors, and supervisors spent Wednesday and Thursday in workshop and field exercises on black sigatoka management, with special focus on the proper use of the mist blower for the critical ground spraying. The training was spearheaded by St Lucian Christopher Lubin, a crop protection and pesticide use management expert who has worked extensively throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

This training exercise is one of the activities of the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM), a European Union funded programme to modernise and develop agriculture in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Lubin’s training focused on timely treatment and control of the disease, more efficient use of the machines, and using wind strength and direction for more effective spray coverage on the targeted plants.

Black sigatoka has severely affected banana production in St Vincent and the Grenadines over several years. The disease destroys the sunlight absorbing capacity of established leaves and severely damages new ones as they are formed, leading to significant weight loss and premature ripening of fruit.

Banana is one of the targeted component areas of the Banana Accompanying Measures, which will also focus on livestock, fruits and vegetables, marketing, and youths in agriculture. The BAM support will ensure sustained recovery of the banana sector, allow farmers to meet certification requirements, and help restore export levels.