St Lucia Works to Save Banana Industry

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 20, 2012

By the Caribbean Journal staff

St Lucia’s government is taking a “proactive” approach in trying to prevent a widespread destruction of its banana sector by Black Sigatoka disease.

The government has sought help from a team of experts at the University of the West Indies, and has taken a number of steps to try and stop its spread.

“The Black Sigatoka Disease has become a national crisis which requires the support from the highest level and from all Saint Lucians, if total disaster is to be avoided,” said Agriculture Minister Moses Jean Baptiste. “I want to reemphasize that this situation was left to develop into a crisis proportion and this calls for urgent and decisive action.”

The government has authorized help for farmers in the form of fungicides to spay their plantations, and the Ministry has prepared a proposal which suggests the creation of a Task Force to deal with the disease.

The early symptoms of Black Sigatoka, which is caused by a fungus, are rusty, reddish-brown streaks on the undersides of banana leaves.

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