The banana industry in Suriname is currently facing a serious threat from the so-called Moko disease, which has affected nearly a quarter of the country’s 2,000 hectares of commercial banana plantations. Meanwhile, authorities here have called in the assistance of international experts in a bid to prevent a wipe out of the banana sector, which would eventually result in the loss of nearly 2,500 jobs.
“The outbreak of the disease caused by Moko bacteria poses a serious threat to the survival of the banana sector in our country. The government has already sought international aid to assist an established national crisis team in finding solutions to this national issue,” President Desi Bouterse said during the presentation of the 2016 budget in parliament last Wednesday.
Food and Agriculture Industries (FAI), the country’s banana exporter, and the two unions at the company recently rang the alarm bell, after almost 400 hectares of the 1,000 hectares at the Jarika plantation was affected by the bacterial disease. So far the Nickerie plantation has not been affected by the disease, which is spread by insects.
According to Sallons, staff should do its utmost to help fight the disease. All tools must be sterilized, while the boots of employees should always be disinfected to prevent the spread of the disease. Small scale banana and plantain farmers in the area and the rest of the country may be affected.
Sallons warned that people should not just buy banana plants, since they could be infected. Meanwhile, the company and the unions have launched an awareness campaign to inform and sensitize the wider population over the looming crisis.