I. Submitted by: G V Pollard, SLAC-SLCM Date: 21 February 2006
II. Visit to: Jamaica
III. Tasks undertaken for other FAO units: None
IV. Inclusive travel dates: 12-20 February 2006
V. Co-traveller(s): None
VI. Reasons for travel: To meet (1) with officials of the Banana Board Research Department to discuss arrangements for the planned workshop on the management of black sigatoka disease of banana and plantain; (2) officials of the Ministry of Agriculture; (iii) officials of the Pesticides Control Authority to discuss follow-up activities for the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention.
VII. Recommendations/Action to be taken: Workshop Arrangements by the Banana Board Research Department. Preparations for the workshop on black sigatoka are well in hand. The reporting officer will continue to liaise with the Banana Board Research Department in the continuing arrangements. Most urgently is the need for all invited countries to nominate their participants. The reporting officer promised to contact countries once again to obtain these names.
Areas for Possible FAO Intervention in Jamaica on Plant Protection Problems. While several pest problems were identified that could possibly benefit from assistance, Ministry officials agreed that the problem of moko disease of banana and plantain and the ensign scale were most urgent and it was likely that requests for TCP assistance for these two pest problems will be forthcoming from the Government. With respect to the ensign scale, a previous request for TCP assistance had not been successful. However, Ministry officials indicated that new information had changed the situation as one newly identified species (Orthezia perlonga) could be a serious potential threat to the local coffee and citrus industries. Additionally, assistance for training in the implementation of the phytosanitary capacity evaluation (PCE) was discussed. The reporting officer will continue to liaise with the Ministry, as may be necessary, in order to facilitate any requests for assistance.
Rotterdam Convention Implementation. There was a positive reception to the proposal for the national seminar on the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention. The reporting officer will continue discussions with the Pesticides Control Authority with respect to arrangements for the convening of this activity.
VIII. Will detailed report be submitted: Yes (attached)
IX. Distribution to:
AGPD: M Solh,
AGPP: N Van der Graaff; P. Kenmore; ; R Labrada; J Jones; W Murray; Yun Zhou; G Wyrwal; Elisabetta Tagliati G Sayour
SLAC: SLAC Officers; Inez Straughn; SLAC Reg.
Regional Officers: A Hruska, RLCA; Young Fan Piao, RAPA; K Alrouechdi, SNEA; M Purea, SAPA; H Clarendon, RAF; Taher; NEA
Kingston, Jamaica, 12-17 February 2006 G V Pollard
Regional Plant Protection Officer, SLCM
1. Background The main purpose of this mission was to meet with officials of the Banana Board Research Department. FAO has entered into a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with this organization to implement a sub-regional workshop on the management of black sigatoka disease of banana and plantain. This pest is most devastating and has been recently introduced into Trinidad and possibly other eastern Caribbean countries. Several of the affected/threatened countries have since requested FAO assistance under the Technical Cooperation Programme and a draft project proposal document has been developed by the reporting officer. This disease had previously been reported in Jamaica in 1997 and, through the Banana Board Research Department, Jamaica has been able to develop and implement an effective management programme for this disease. It was because of this capacity that the LOA was developed with the Banana Board Research Department to implement the training workshop.
Apart from following up on the progress of arrangements for the workshop, the reporting officer took the opportunity to meet with several other agencies in Jamaica to discuss on-going and several proposed activities. These agencies included the Ministry of Agriculture, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Coconut Industry Board and the Pesticides Control Authority.
2. Activities 2.1 Meeting with FAOR, Dr Dunstan Campbell. Both a briefing and debriefing were held with the FAOR to inform him of the purpose of the mission as well as on the outcome.
2.2 Meeting with officials of the Banana Board Research Department. This was the main purpose of this mission – to meet with officials of this organization in order to discuss arrangements for the training workshop on black sigatoka management. Discussions were held with Ms Janet Conie, Director of Research, Ms Elaine Garwood, Agronomist, Mr Clifton Wilson, Project Agronomist and Director of Technical Services; Ms Marina Young, Plant Pathologist and Mr Phillip Chung, Extension Specialist of the Rural Agriculture Development Authority (RADA), the extension arm of the Ministry of Agriculture. Discussions centred on on-going logistical arrangements for the workshop including participants’ accommodation, venue, equipment needs and finalization of the workshop programme including the proposed field trip. Currently, discussions are underway on another phase of the EU Banana Support Programme which had been funding much of the work on black sigatoka in Jamaica.
2.3 Meeting with Ministry of Agriculture Officials. A meeting was held with Mr Don McGlashan, Chief Technical Director, Ms Shelia Harvey, Chief Plant Quarantine Officer, Dr Sheryl McDonald, Chief, Post-entry Quarantine and Dr Lisa Myers, Plant Doctor/Pathologist. The main purpose of this meeting was to determine what were the critical problems in plant protection that Jamaica was facing and to what extent FAO could possibly assist. Several areas were discussed but it was agreed that assistance for the management of moko disease of banana and plantain and the ensign scale could benefit form assistance.
2.4 Meeting with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute. This meeting was mainly to determine what support CARDI could possibly provide to the black sigatoka management effort being developed. Also, under the regional food security project (GTFS/RLA/141/ITA), the reporting officer has been requested to develop a curriculum for a two-week IPM training course for plant protection officers of the Ministry of Agriculture in Suriname. A draft programme has been prepared in which the reporting officer has identified one of CARDI’s entomologists in Jamaica as a likely resource person. This proposal was discussed.
2.5 Meeting with the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA). The reporting officer met with Ms Marcia Thompson, PCA Deputy Registrar, and informed her of the availability of funding to convene a 1-2 day national seminar on the realisation of the national action plan for implementation of the Rotterdam Convention. This proposal is a follow-up to a meeting held in Trinidad in 2005 on the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention to which Jamaica and several other Caribbean sub-regional countries had been invited. At that meeting, countries had to develop national plans for the implementation of the Convention. Ms Thompson was quite enthusiastic about this proposal and promised to raise this issue with Ms Hyacinth Chin Sue, PCA Registrar on her return from a mission abroad. The reporting officer also discussed this proposal over the telephone with Ms Gloria Gibbs, Acting Director, Pharmaceutical and Regulatory Affairs and who is responsible for collaborating actions for the harmonization of in-country activities under the Rotterdam, Basel and Stockholm Conventions under a UNITAR project. Ms Gibbs was very positive about the proposed national seminar and promised to liaise with Ms Chin Sue. Like Ms Chin Sue, Ms Gibbs also participated in the workshop on implementation of the Rotterdam Convention in Trinidad in 2005.
2.6 Coconut Industry Board ((CIB). Discussions were held with Dr Wayne Myrie, Plant Pathologist and Mrs Wallace, Botanist for an update of the status of coconut lethal yellowing (CLY) in Jamaica Over the past few years CLY has had an upsurge in Jamaica following nearly three decades of good control utilizing locally developed resistant varieties. Following this new phase of the disease, a project was approved by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) to assist with the management of the disease. Beneficiary countries include Jamaica, Honduras and Mexico. The CIB has been named as the project executing agency.
3. Conclusions and Recommendations 3.1 Workshop Arrangements by the Banana Board Research Department. Preparations for the workshop are well in hand. Negotiations with the Four Seasons Hotel, the venue for the workshop, have been initiated and are well underway; the programme has been finalized and all resource persons identified; equipment needs and supplies have also been agreed; what are not available will be purchased. With respect to the latter, the reporting officer has offered to arrange for the production of laminated pocket identification cards of disease symptoms when the pictures have been received from Ms Young. Arrangements for travel have also been initiated; however, only two country nominations have been received so far. This needs to be followed-up.
3.2 Areas for Possible FAO Intervention in Jamaica on Plant Protection Problems. Prior to meeting with technical officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, officials of RADA, the Banana Research Department and CARDI had identified several critical problems which they believed could warrant possible FAO intervention were identified. These included moko disease of banana, yam anthracnose disease, ensign scale, sweet potato leaf beetle and hot pepper midge. These identified pest problems were raised with Mr McGlashan and his officers and while they all were acknowledged as important problems, Mr McGlashan recognized that in the case of yam anthracnose, hot pepper midge and sweet potato leaf beetle, for example, there was sufficient information available locally among the different agencies that needed to be put together in a suitable package of recommendations for farmers. In fact, it was observed that, in the case of the sweet potato beetle there were already recommended pest management practices but some farmers were not following these recommendations. As far as possible areas for assistance, Mr McGlashan and his colleagues agreed that the problem of moko disease of banana and plantain and the ensign scale were two possible areas for FAO intervention.
As far as moko disease is concerned, it was reported that the disease is under management in the east of the country where there are large farms growing bananas for export. However, in the western regions of the country where there are more small farms growing banana and plantain for the local market, the disease is spreading. About two years ago, when moko was first reported in Jamaica, FAO did arrange for a consultant, Professor Buddenhagen to undertake a mission to assess the extent of the problem in the country. This was completed in June 2004. Out of this mission, several recommendations were made. It is most likely that implementation of these recommendations has led to the excellent management of the disease among the large farms exporting bananas. However, at that time the disease was not widely spread, unlike the present situation.
For the problem of the ensign scale, a request for assistance for the biological control of this pest had previously been made in 2004 but this was deemed not to have met TCP criteria. At that time, according to the assessment of TCOT, the request did not seem to respond to an urgent problem as the pest had been long reported in the country and there was neither evidence of a serious impact on agriculture nor of potential economic implications. Furthermore, neither was the problem/request mentioned in the Ministry of Agriculture‘s Development Plans for 2003-2007 as an important constraint for agricultural development nor was it part of the Ministry of Agriculture pest control programme. Further, according to TCOT, assistance requested appeared to be directed more at filling a financial gap rather than a technical expertise one. However, the reporting officer was informed that, since that time, it has been determined that there was not one species (Orthezia insignis) as was as initially believed but a complex of O. insignis and O. perlonga. This latter species is a major pest of coffee and citrus in Central America and its presence in Jamaica is cause for concern since coffee and citrus are major commodities in Jamaica. At present, a survey is underway to determine the status of O. perlonga in the country. Also, a coccinellid beetle has been found to be associated with the pest and its identification and impact are to be determined.
It is likely that requests for TCP assistance for these two pest problems (i.e. moko disease and ensign scale) will be forthcoming from the Government.
Also, Mr McGlashan informed the reporting officer that they would wish to conduct an assessment of their phytosanitary service utilising the phytosanitary capacity evaluation (PCE) tool. They had last conducted such an evaluation in 2000 when the PCE tool had just been developed. Given also the change in personnel since that time he requested whether assistance could be provided for the training of plant quarantine personnel in the implementation of the PCE tool.
3.3 Rotterdam Convention Implementation. There was a positive reception to the proposal for the national seminar on the implementation of the Rotterdam Convention. The reporting officer will continue discussions with the Pesticides Control Authority with respect to arrangements for the convening of this activity.
3.4 Coconut Industry Board. Jamaica needs to urgently manage this new upsurge of CLY which continues to spread. Unlike previous outbreaks, not only are the bearing trees being attacked and killed but now even trees as young as 18 months. The dilemma facing the local industry is what to give to farmers for replanting lost trees as all varieties, even the previously resistant ones, are succumbing to the disease. Also, with the continued spread of CLY in Jamaica, the impact can be seen in the price of coconuts on the local market - green coconuts are now sold for JA $50.00 compared with $20.00 prior to this new disease upsurge and dry nuts for $90.00 compared with $30.00 previously. The CIB is continuing its collaboration with Mexico and Honduras in the characterization of the disease and the search as to whether new strains of the pathogen have emerged. Also, there are studies to determine alternative/alternate host plants of the pathogen. The reporting officer also suggested that there needs to be more work to determine whether new and more efficient vectors of the disease are present in Jamaica. In fact, very little work on vectors has been done.
4. Follow-up Action
Black sigatoka workshop. The reporting officer will continue to liaise with the Banana Board Research Department in the continuing arrangements for the convening of the training workshop, scheduled for 27-29 March 2006. Most urgently is the need for countries to nominate their participants. The reporting officer will need to contact countries once again to obtain these names.
Rotterdam Convention implementation. The reporting officer will follow-up with the Registrar, Pesticides Control Authority, who was out of office at the time of the mission, on the discussions held with her colleague with respect to arrangements for the proposed national seminar.
Critical areas in plant protection for Jamaica. Two pest problems have been identified by the Ministry of Agriculture officials for which requests for FAO technical assistance would likely be forthcoming according to the Chief Technical Director of the Ministry. These are the problems of moko disease of banana and plantain and the ensign scale. The reporting officer will continue to liaise with the Ministry, as may be necessary, in order to facilitate any requests for assistance. Also, the reporting officer will send copies of the latest version of the PCE tool and continue discussions on possible assistance for training in the implementation of this tool.