Chief Executive Officer of the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Dr. Oudho Homenauth, has indicated that the authority is aggressively working to combat and eventually eliminate Black Sigatoka.
Dr. Homenauth was at the time responding to questions posed by farmers about the expansion of the coconut industry and instances of Black Sigatoka infestation in plantain, at a consultation exercise.
“The fight against Black Sigatoka continues. We have come a far way as instances of this disease have reduced significantly. NAREI is currently exploring varieties that are resistant to Black Sigatoka. I would encourage anyone to get involved in plantain cultivation as markets for this commodity will not be an issue.”
In relation to the coconut industry, Dr. Homenuath posited that he has many plans that will be revealed soon. I would like to mention that in order to maximize coconut production; special emphasis should be placed on the methods used from the inception of planting to the production stage.
One such method is the control of pests and diseases. The coconut palm is subjected to various attacks of pests and diseases including Red Palm mite. CARDI has recently approved a proposal for an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategy to increase the level of productivity in Guyana’s coconut industry. These works are expected to commence in July.” Dr. Homenauth said.
NAREI has been intensifying its education and awareness efforts to better inform plantain farmers about the Black Sigatoka disease.
NAREI had therefore created demonstration plots in several farming communities (such as Clonbrook and Hand-en-Veldt, Region Four; Leguan and Wakenaam, Region Three; and Golden Fleece and Queenstown, Region two) that were significantly affected by the disease. The intention is to offer farmers’ firsthand knowledge about good farming practices crucial for healthy plantain production
For several years the disease (caused by the fungus, Mycosphaerella fijiensism) has been affecting local plantain production. It strives in heat and humidity of the tropics. While it cannot be eliminated, it could be controlled with proper farming practices.
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