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Banana Diagnostic Workshop to be Held in Jamaica April 15-19

At least six Jamaicans engaged in agriculture are to benefit from the upcoming regional training in Banana diagnostics and surveillance.

Being held from April 15 to 19 at the Life Sciences Department of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, the workshop will train at least 15 persons from across the region.

Training is part of the wider regional food security efforts, as banana remains an important part of the diet of persons within the region as well as an export commodity.

General Manager of the Banana Board, Ms. Janet Conie, told JIS News that persons will be trained to use the Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) Diagnostic Tool.

“It’s used to determine whether you have Tropical Race Four (TR4) disease in the field. We can do it in the field rather than taking the samples back to the lab to confirm. It’s not a tool that we use on an everyday basis, but it’s a tool that we use to confirm diagnosis if we suspect something,” she said.

Ms. Conie noted that participants for the workshop are expected from Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Dominica, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

She added that the five-day training will be run by the French Agricultural Research Department (CIRAD).

“In addition to TR4, training will look at some of the other major diseases that are not yet in some of the islands, such as the Banana Bunchy Top Disease, which is a virus not yet in Jamaica. It’s also a very dangerous disease because we cannot get rid of that once it comes. Another disease is the Banana Bract Mosaic virus. That too is not in this region. Of course, there is the Moko disease which has existed in the region, but they are not in some of the territories of the Caribbean,” Ms. Conie said.

The training has been endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining and is being funded by the Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD) Forum, in its role as the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), the Regional Plant Protection Organisation (RPPO).

The CPHD plays a vital role in identifying, developing, coordinating and safeguarding efforts in the Caribbean against emerging pest threats.

Photo Caption: Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Hon. Floyd Green (second right), discusses characteristics of a local banana variety with (from left) Deputy Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Professor Tannecia Stephenson; General Manager of the Banana Board, Janet Ferguson-Conie; Chairperson of the Musa Technical Working Group, Caribbean Plant Health (CPHD) Directors Forum, Nelson Laville; and Phytopathologist, Plant Health Institute of Montpellier, Dr. Yolande Chilin Charles.

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Published on 18 Apr, 2024

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