Producing quality bananas and without fear of losing the plantations led several producers of San Pedro de Tutule, La Paz, Honduras to try to generate a new variety.
In 2010, a fungus called “Panama disease” was identified in the area, which began to affect the properties in various sectors of the community.
In the municipality, several coffee farms alternate their crops between bananas and aromatic grain. This was so after the Honduran Coffee Institute (Ihcafé) and the International Organization Boiversity promoted this type of use of land in the area.
The project was funded by the German agency GTZ/BMZ.
Through this alliance in 2010, a group of engineers from both institutions began a process of training 14 producers.
Over time, the banana generated great demand in the markets of El Salvador and Guatemala, a situation that kept a strong expectation among producers.
Later came a latent threat to crops and plantation investment. In farms banana crops began drying for no apparent reason, from root to leaf, a situation that alerted the land owners. To prevent loss of large proportion, experts asked producers to cut the affected stems and bury them in deep pits.
“Through research, we found an incurable disease called Panama disease, caused by a fungus called Fusarium oxysporum Race 1,” explained Napoleon Matute, head of the Experimental Center Ihcafé, located in San Jose, La Paz.
According to Matute, the “Panama disease” was detected in about 10 farms.
Since then, every three months Nicaragua engineers and national experts visit the municipality to teach farmers to produce a new kind of banana resistible to “Panama disease”.
One producer, Pablo Salazar, said he is concerned that the disease may reach his plots, because there are several farms around which are affected.
In the municipality there are about 678 banana producers with an area of 1,314 hectares of land cultivated. What is obtained from the production is exported to El Salvador and Guatemala.