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IPPC Global coordination on Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4 (TR4)

  • Bananas and plantains are produced in more than 135 countries worldwide
  • 45.3 million tonnes of plantains and cooking bananas produced globally in 2021
  • 125 million tonnes of bananas were produced in 2021
  • Fusarium TR4 has been reported in 21 countries in Africa, Asia, Pacific, and Latin America
  • 100% yield loss on a banana farm due to the spread of Fusarium TR4


The IPPC community has been on high alert as plant pests and diseases, such as Fusarium wilt - caused by the pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4 (Fusarium TR4), continue to spread rapidly, posing a significant threat to crucial crops such as Musaceae crops bananas and plantains. Fusarium TR4 stands out as one of the most detrimental pests to Musaceae, capable of causing a yield loss of up to 100 percent on affected farms. The implications extend beyond agriculture and impact the livelihoods of farmers, traders and consumers worldwide.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation and the indispensable role of international cooperation, in 2023, the 17th Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-17) underscored the importance of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat in coordinating global efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of Fusarium TR4. CPM-17 emphasized that no single country can manage this challenge alone, highlighting the critical need for unified action on a global scale.


About Fusarium TR4

What is Fusarium TR4?

Fusarium TR4, a strain of the soil-borne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense and the causal agent behind Banana Fusarium Wilt, poses a significant threat to banana and plantain crops globally.
The pathogen infects/penetrates the roots, moves through the vascular system, and blocks it, causing collapse of the plant. Fusarium TR4 forms a specialized type of spore that serves as a survival mechanism (chlamydospores) in the soil, allowing it to survive for over 30 years. Its impact extends to various banana and plantain varieties, including the widely cultivated Cavendish, which contributes around 50% of global banana production.

© FAO/Daniel Hayduk, Tanzania. Farming and rural activity

How does Fusarium TR4 spread?

Since its initial detection in Asia in 1970, Fusarium TR4 has rapidly spread across other continents, reaching Africa in 2013 and Latin America in 2019. Fusarium TR4 can enter into new areas through various pathways, including movement of infected planting material, movement of contaminated soil on agricultural machinery, farm tools and footwear, drainage water, surface (rain or irrigation) water runoff, floods and unsterilized potting composts. Once established in an area, Fusarium TR4 can spread short-distances through both human-mediated and natural pathways, such as water run-off, animal movement or movement of contaminated soil.

To consult the distribution of Fusarium TR4, please refer to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical race 4 EPPO Global Database

How to prevent Fusarium TR4?

Once established, it is not technically feasible to eradicate Fusarium TR4 using conventional methods like fungicides and soil fumigants. The fungus does not pose any harm to humans or the fruit itself. However, this situation underscores the urgent need for innovative approaches to prevent its entry and spread and safeguard these crucial crops. The most effective strategies involve preventing its entry into non-affected areas and immediate containment upon detection, emphasizing the critical importance of proactive phytosanitary measures in managing this agricultural threat.


Outputs and activities

  1. An Implementation and Capacity (IC) Team on Fusarium TR4 was established to address the emerging issues of Fusarium TR4.
  2. The Guide Prevention, preparedness and response guidelines for Fusarium Tropical Race 4 (TR4) of banana is available in English, Spanish and soon French.
  3. A workshop series on Fusarium TR4 Diagnostic, Surveillance, Inspection and Simulation Exercise was organized and concluded.
  4. The following activities are to be conducted under the FAO support to COMESA trade facilitation programme:
    • Planning, coordination and delivery of a tabletop simulation exercise for Fusarium TR4 in one selected COMESA country (virtual);
    • Planning, preparation and delivery of a face to face, hands on training on diagnostics on Fusarium TR4;
    • Planning, preparation and delivery of a virtual surveillance training course;
    • Planning, coordination and delivery of a simulation exercise for Fusarium TR4 in one selected COMESA country;

2023 ©Instituto de Protección y Sanidad Agropecuaria (IPSA)