A four-part virtual workshop series on “Safeguarding the Banana Industry from Fusarium Wilt: Research Updates and Opportunities in Asia Pacific” will be held from October to November 2020 via Zoom, organized by the International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet), the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GDAAS), Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS), and the Alliance of Bioversity International and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

Fusarium oxysporium f.sp. cubense Tropical Race 4 (Foc TR4) is a fungal disease that attacks Cavendish bananas, the variety that is most exported and widely consumed around the world. For more than two decades, the disease has severely reduced yields and productivity of bananas in Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, East Asia, and Australia. Recently, the disease has spread to Africa and Latin America. Foc TR4 threatens the entire banana industry which has a global trade value of USD 31 billion in 2020, while impacting the livelihoods of rural banana producers.

Despite efforts aplenty in the last decade, the nature and persistent spread of the Foc TR4 calls for the intensification of pragmatic research efforts. This virtual workshop aims for researchers across the Asia Pacific region to share information on current research and technologies in mitigating the impact and spread of banana fusarium wilt. Country representatives will also share their experiences on the control and management of the disease. As an outcome of the deliberations from this workshop, a summary and analysis of recommendations will be prepared to encourage future regional cooperation among partners and countries.

More than 50 scientists and experts on banana fusarium wilt are expected to participate from countries such as Australia, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mozambique, Philippines, South Africa, and Vietnam. Representatives from various international organizations are also expected to attend.

This workshop will complement the global effort of FAO to stem the advance of this disease to countries that are unaffected and containment of the disease in already affected countries. TFNet has been in the forefront in promoting awareness of the managing this disease by initiating a side event during the 70th Session of the CCP (Committee on Commodity Problems) at FAO, Rome in October 2014.

The workshop session schedule and themes are as follows:

(Kuala Lumpur)
GMT +8
Workshop session theme
AOctober 201500 - 1845Country reports on background and updates on Foc TR4 prevalence,
containment measures and research initiatives
BOctober 27 1500 - 1800Biodiversity, evolution and interaction mechanism
between pathogen and host
CNovember 3 1500 - 1800Breeding initiatives for resistance against Foc TR4
DNovember 10 1500 - 1800Integrated control measures and sustainable field
management practices

For more information about the workshop, click here.

Background photo source: Fun with microbiology

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