A Mission to Save the Banana

Over the past five months, the area of farm land adopting the GLOBALG.A.P. TR4 Biosecurity add-on for Bananas has increased by 44% to 48,000 hectares. Most of the area is situated in Latin America, with even more producers indicating future plans to seek this formal proof of implementation of essential biosecurity measures against the destructive fungus. 

Bananas are produced in over 135 countries and are a basic food security crop for more than 400 million people. Thanks to global consumption, banana growing offers an essential source of income in many developing countries – but now this crop is under threat.

A banana disease pandemic

Fusarium oxysporum f. sp . cubense is the agent that causes Fusarium wilt disease in bananas. Currently, a specific genetic lineage known as Tropical Race 4, or Foc TR4, is the most imminent threat to the Cavendish banana and to the economic livelihood of those whose livelihood and subsistence depend on banana production and consumption. Foc TR4 is harmful to many local banana varieties because there is currently no effective treatment to control Fusarium wilt.

Latin America and the Caribbean are world leaders in banana exports, but the situation is serious. With the arrival of the TR4 pathogen in Latin America – in Colombia in 2019 and in Peru in 2021 – urgent, effective, and comprehensive solutions to prevent the further spread of TR4 are vital. It is a race against time to avoid losses in the production and marketing sectors and associated communities.

A GLOBALG.A.P. tool for biosecurity

At GLOBALG.A.P. we are very concerned about the rapid spread of TR4 and urge banana growers to take crucial preventive actions.

There are 12,791 banana producers certified with GLOBALG.A.P. IFA version 5.2 or version 5.3-GFS worldwide, approximately 95% of which are in Latin America. For this reason, we highly recommend that all banana producers with IFA certification implement the GLOBALG.A.P. TR4 Biosecurity add-on; a tool that provides farmers with a risk mitigation plan to prevent the introduction (and/or further spreading) of the TR4 pathogen to, within, and from their farms with GLOBALG.A.P. certification.

The add-on also helps raise awareness about the seriousness of this disease on a global scale and aims to address the issue of biosecurity and provide greater support to the entire banana sector.

Pursuing success by working together

In addition to providing the biosecurity add-on tool, GLOBALG.A.P. is committed to supporting further initiatives, such as the World Banana Forum (WBF) and the Task Force on TR4. These initiatives each unite a many representatives of producers, associations, NPPO, traders, and NGOs, all of whom are working together to identify solutions which will support the sector.