Un hongo, que se convierte en pandemia, arrasa con las plantaciones de bananos


23 de febrero de 2021

La “pandemia del banano” amenaza con la destrucción total de los cultivos

Se conformó la Alianza Global de Cooperación de Lucha contra el Fusarium R4T, una enfermedad que comenzó en Asia y se está diseminando en todo el mundo

El Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA) informó que se ha constituido formalmente la Alianza Global de Cooperación de Lucha contra el Fusarium R4T, con el objetivo dede contener el avance de la considerada “pandemia del banano” y, en el mediano y largo plazo, investigar y desarrollar soluciones de mejoramiento genético.

La cepa raza 4 tropical (R4T) del hongo Fusarium es una enfermedad para la que hoy no existe ningún tratamiento, que se transmite a través del suelo y devasta plantaciones. Es la mayor amenaza en más de medio siglo para un cultivo que resulta especialmente importante para las poblaciones vulnerables, que obtienen del banano hasta la cuarta parte de las calorías que ingieren diariamente.


Aunque se originó en Asia, la R4T se ha ido desplazando hacia el Oeste y en 2019 fue detectada en Colombia, lo que encendió la alarma en las zonas tropicales de América Latina y el Caribe, cuyos países están entre los mayores productores y exportadores de banano del mundo.

La única forma efectiva actualmente para detener la propagación de la enfermedad es quemar las tierras afectadas, que no pueden volver a utilizarse porque la enfermedad puede reaparecer.

La constitución de la la Alianza contó con la participación de Kenton Dashiell, subdirector del Instituto Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (IITA); Jorge Sauma, director ejecutivo asistente de la Corporación Bananera Nacional (CORBANA) de Costa Rica; Sara Boettiger, jefa de Asuntos Públicos, Ciencia y Sustentabilidad de la División de Ciencia de Cultivos de Bayer; Ronald Guendel, director global de Cadenas de Valor Alimentarias de la División de Ciencia de Cultivos de Bayer; Andrew Biles, gerente general de Chiquita Brands International; Jeroen Kroezen, coordinador de programas internacionales de la Red Solidaridad; Ernst van der Ende, profesor del Departamento de Fitopatología de la Universidad de Wageningen (Países Bajos); y Manuel Otero, Director General del Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA).


“Derrotar a la R4T es un desafío global y en consecuencia necesita un esfuerzo global. Ese es el motivo por el cual el trabajo de la Alianza Global contra la R4T es crucial. Reúne actores de todas las regiones y todas las especialidades, lo que permitirá a cada uno contribuir con sus conocimientos y sus recursos”, dijo Guendel.

“Si todos colaboramos, tendremos las mejores oportunidades de salvar al banano y, con él, los medios de vida y la nutrición de innumerable cantidad de personas en el mundo”, agregó Guendel.

Por su lado, el Director General del IICA, Manuel Otero, señaló que “estamos fuertemente motivados para trabajar con la Alianza en la búsqueda de soluciones para una enfermedad a la que vimos expandirse por el mundo en los últimos años y que tiene fuertes impactos económicos y sociales, porque el banano está fuertemente vinculado a la seguridad alimentaria global”.

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