Information obtained by the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU), also published in the Zimbabwean Herald of February 13, 2019, states that the Zimbabwean government has given a nod to Mozambican companies to export green bananas to Zambia through Zimbabwe.
This is part of efforts of the Zimbabwean and Mozambican countries to foster co-operation.
Mozambican companies had initially attempted to export green bananas to Zambia through Zimbabwe, but the Zimbabwean Department of Plant Quarantine in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement had rejected this bid fearing spread of disease through contaminated fruit.
The exports have, however, been granted by the Zimbabwean government following some form of research, which indicate that green bananas cannot spread disease.
The Zimbabwean government has since started clearing green bananas’ consignment from Mozambique headed for Zambia at the Forbes Border Post.
Mozambique is one of the countries on the continent known to be having the banana wilt or Fusarium wilt of banana, popularly known as Panama disease.
Banana wilt is a lethal fungal disease caused by the soil-borne fungus Fusarium oxysporum cubense (Foc).
Local experts are now worried that Zambia could import this disease, which is known to be extremely stubborn.
Experts say the fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, enters the plant through the roots and colonizes the xylem vessels, thereby blocking the flow of water and nutrients.
Disease progression results in the collapse of leaves at the petiole, the splitting of the pseudostem base and eventually plant death.
Once established in a field, the fungus persists in the soil for an indefinite period of time and cannot be managed using chemical pesticides.