Tanzania Daily News Dar es Salaam Arusha Marc Nkwame
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

Tanzania has banned the importation of banana plants from Mozambique following the outbreak of the strange, ‘Panama Disease,’ which is taking toll on the plants in the southern parts of the continent.

According to the statement by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery, Dr Florence Turuka, the government is monitoring all entry points to ensure the banned bananas are not imported to the country.

The Permanent Secretary’s statement was presented before more than 15 delegates converging here. It was read by Mr Cornelius Fabian Mkondo, the Assistant Director in charge of Plant Health Services: Plant Quarantine and Phytosanitary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery.

“We are checking and monitoring all entry ports including airports, territorial borders and other sensitive areas along our borders to ensure that alien banana plants do not cross into Tanzania,” said Mr Mkondo.

Apparently, the banana fungal disease ‘panama disease’ has been present in northern Mozambique for the past few years. However there have been concerns among banana farmers in South Africa that the disease is spreading to their farms.

Tanzania is thus intercepting the risk, terming it that should banana plants from the Northern Parts of Mozambique be brought here by farmers, it could put the whole banana industry in the country at risk.

Millions of small scale farmers in Tanzania and Uganda rely on the East African Highland Bananas as staple food and cash crop. The two countries produce more than 50 percent of all bananas being consumed in Africa and that the crop fetches up to 4.5 bn/-US dollars annually.

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