Posted: Monday, July 24, 2023. 4:02 pm CST.
Photo Credit: MAFSE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: A landmark agreement was signed today between the Ministry of Agriculture and the International Regional Organization for Health in Agriculture (OIRSA) to boost the banana industry in Belize. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covers three key areas: tissue culture technology, satellite surveillance, and laboratory equipment.
The project aims to help the banana sector cope with the threat of Fusarium TR4 Disease, a fungal infection that can wipe out entire plantations.
The MOU under the Fusarium TR4 Disease Project involves the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise (MAFSE), Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA), OIRSA, University of Belize (UB), Banana Growers Association (BGA), and the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) Taiwan.
One of the main components of the project is the development of tissue culture technology at the UB laboratory for banana and plantain propagation. This technology will allow the production of resistant varieties of bananas that can withstand the disease. The project will also expand the satellite surveillance program with the Banana Growers Association (BGA), using satellite imagery to monitor the health and productivity of banana farms. The satellite data will help detect any signs of disease outbreaks, nutrient deficiencies, or other issues that may affect the crop. Additionally, the project will donate state-of-the-art laboratory equipment from the Regional Project on Fusarium TR4 to BAHA to enhance their capacity for early disease diagnosis. The equipment will provide reliable results for decision-making and management.
The banana agreement was signed at a ceremony at the Ministry of Agriculture’s National Agric Showgrounds conference room in Belmopan on Monday afternoon.
Minister of Agriculture Jose Mai and OIRSA Executive Director Raul Rodas presided over the event, along with representatives from OIRSA, UB, BGA, Taiwan ICDF, and other stakeholders. The agreement is expected to benefit hundreds of banana farmers and workers in Belize, as well as contribute to food security and economic development.
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