Tiruchirapalli

Bio control agents to control virulent fungal disease in banana undergoing field tests

A consortia of bio control agents developed by the National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) in Tiruchi to control the invasive fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (Foc TR4) disease in banana is undergoing field tests and has been showing promising results.

Disclosing this here on Thursday, S. Uma, Director, NRCB, said the field tests were under way in Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. “Incidence of Foc TR4, which devastates banana plantations, has been reported in the States such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and can spread to other States through planting material, soil, irrigation water and bunch stalk. Effective quarantine of diseased plants is highly important as Australia has demonstrated. We are advocating an integrated approach to manage the fungal disease and the measures have to be taken on a war footing. The bio control agents developed by NRCB will be available after the field tests,” Dr.Uma said.

The virulent strain of the fungal disease has been reported in Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Philippines, Australia, and other countries. India accounts for 27% of the global banana production and produces about 29.3 million tonnes of banana from a cultivated area of about 8.03 lakh hectares across the country.

Addressing a press conference here to brief the media on an international conference on banana and a national banana show to be hosted jointly by the NRCB in association with Bioversity International in Tiruchi from February 22 to 25, Dr. Uma said a satellite international workshop on Foc TR4 would be held as part of the conference. National and international scientists working on the fusarium wilt in banana would conduct a brainstorming session to come up with global mitigation strategies.

Besides, an international training programme on Foc TR4 has also been lined up as part of the event to sensitise researchers, farmers, tissue culture companies, students and quarantine officials on prevention and control of the dreaded disease threatening banana plantations across the world, she said.

In Tamil Nadu, the Grand Naine variety of banana grown in Theni has been widely affected by a different strain (TR1) forcing many farmers to switch over to red banana and nendran varieties, which are resistant to the disease, Dr. Uma said and added that scientists attending the conference would also undertake a field trip to Theni.

The conference, Dr.Uma, said would focus on Innovations in sustainable production and value chain management in banana. The way forward in exporting Indian bananas would also be discussed in detail. The meet would provide an inter-disciplinary forum for researchers, entrepreneurs and stake holders to discuss the opportunities and threats faced by the banana industry. About 600 scientists from India and abroad are expected to participate in the three day conference.

On February 23 and 24, a national banana show, featuring about 300 banana varieties from across the country, including many traditional varieties and those from the North East, would be showcased. Value added products of banana and machines for producing the same would also be on display.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 7:53:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/bio-control-agents-to-control-virulent-fungal-disease-in-banana-undergoing-field-tests/article30754179.ece

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