Sensitization workshop on the emerging new serious Fusarium wilt disease of banana held on 26-11-2018
Indian banana industry is worth of 50,000 crore per annum. Popular commercial cultivar Grand Naine (G-9), which was resistant to Fusarium wilt disease and ruling the last three decades, became susceptible to new strain, Fusarium wilt TR4. As the Grand Naine banana contributes 20 billion dollars in global trade and is now under threat due to TR4, efforts are being made to manage the disease through various programmes. This new strain of Fusarium wilt affecting Cavendish banana has been detected in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, devastating the Cavendish banana. If unchecked, it is expected to cause a serious threat to the banana industry as it affects most of the commercial varieties of India including the traditional bananas
ICAR-NRCB has the responsibility to sensitize the stake holders of banana industry, like extension workers, state government officials, tissue culture industries and policy makers. Among the series NRCB hosted a high-level workshop on “Sensitization of tissue culture industries in preventing the spread of newly emerging disease - Fusarium wilt (Tropical Race 4) of banana“ on 26th November at ICAR-National Research Centre for Banana, Trichy. The meeting was attended by delegates representing major tissue culture companies from different parts of India. Dr. N. Kumar, Vice Chancellor, TNAU, was the guest of honour. Dr. B.N.S. Murthy, Horticulture Commissioner, was the Chief Guest. Dr. R.R. Hanchinal, Consultant, Bioversity International, attended the meet as a special invitee. Dr. B. Padmanaban, Principal Scientist, welcomed the gathering. Dr. S. Uma, Director, in her inaugural address gave a brief overview of the Workshop.
Director, NRCB said the major objective of the meet was to create awareness about Tropical Race 4 of Fusarium wilt, a disease with a potential to devastate the banana industry in India within a short timespan if it is not contained on a war footing. She emphasized the need to sensitize the tissue culture companies about the disease as it is confined to some parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and TC companies had the onus to produce quality disease free planting material for banana farmers. She explained the initiatives taken by NRCB to screening of Indian banana cultivars for TR4 resistance in the hotspots of Bihar and identification of few varieties showing resistance to this dreaded disease. Dr Hanchinal emphasized the need for survey and surveillance of TR4 affected areas by intensive surveys. He said concerted efforts involving all stakeholders and use of novel biotechnological approaches and breeding resistant cultivars are required to combat this deadly disease in the long term. He extended the support of international agencies like Bioversity International to procure resistant material from International institutes. Dr. N. Kumar, VC, TNAU, in his address mentioned that TR 4 is a huge challenge for the banana industry as quarantine measures would be difficult to implement and cooperation of all stakeholders was needed to tackle this emerging disease. He assured that TNAU would collaborate with NRCB in evaluation and validation of control measures for TR4 for the benefit of banana farmers. Dr. B.N.S. Murthy in his address emphasized the responsibility of TC companies in producing disease free, quality planting material. He said India could learn from the experiences of Australia and South East Asian countries where TR4 is a problem. He offered to flag policy issues at the Ministry level for addressing this problem as banana is a major and affordable fruit consumed widely by all sections. After the inauguration, Dr. R. Thangavelu, Principal Scientist, NRCB, made a presentation on the present scenario of Fusarium Wilt-TR 4 in India and outlined the recommendations for containing the spread of the disease, especially the do’s and dont’s for the spread of the disease. Dr. Neelam Chaudhary, Deputy Director, Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage, Faridabad, spoke about the efforts of DPPQ in containing the spread of TR4 in India. Dr. M. Loganathan, Principal Scientist, NRCB, gave a vote of thanks.


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