Banana Covid


  • Recently a novel fungus strain called Fusarium wilt TR4, is devastating banana plantations across the globe.
  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization TR4 is one of the  most destructive of all plant diseases.

About TR4

  • The strain, Tropical Race 4 (TR4), was first identified in Taiwan, and has jumped from Asia to the Middle East and Africa, reaching as far as Latin America.
  • It cripples plantations by first attacking the leaves, which turn yellow from their trailing edges before wilting away.
  • There is no effective remedy yet.
  • TR4 has infected the most commonly sold variety, the one you mostly likely have for breakfast: Grand Nain (musa acuminata), a curvy yellow fruit.
  • One could say it is the Covid-19 of the plant world.
  • Hotspots have been found in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which we are trying to contain.
  • India produces 27 million tonnes of bananas annually and grows about 100 named cultivars (varieties).
  • Equador, the largest exporter, is currently the epicentre and scientists haven’t been able to ascertain how TR4 entered India.
  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research is advocating a set of measures, known as “biopriming”.

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