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Fusarium wilt of banana
LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA, PHILIPPINES - Fusarium wilt or Panama disease of banana is considered as one of the most destructive plant diseases in modern times. The soil-borne fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (FOC) causes wilting and yellowing of the banana leaves, and eventually plant death.
The Philippines ranked fifth among the world’s banana-producing countries in 2003. About 2.8 million households are dependent on the local banana industry. Hence, controlling the disease will help protect the Philippine’s position in the world banana trade and the livelihood of millions of Filipinos.
The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Research and Development (PCARRD) approved in the third quarter of 2006 the implementation of a research and development project to combat banana Fusarium wilt. The said project - "Development of strategies for managing Fusarium wilt or Panama disease of banana" will focus in the island of Mindanao, the country's banana-growing area. It will will identify the race type of FOC in the island and determine their ability to inflict damage on the host plant.
The Project, in coordination with the local government units (LGUs), will survey the production areas in the identified provinces for Fusarium wilt incidence. Plants exhibiting symptoms typical of the disease will be analyzed. The areas where the disease is found will be mapped.
By 2009, the project expects to identify tolerant or resistant cultivars and to recommend measures for managing or containing this destructive disease. (Ireneo B. Palma, Philippines: PCARRD)