Richard Ha writes:
Incidents of Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) have been increasing in this past year.
Fortunately, the Department of Agriculture has filled the slot that became open when Kyle Onuma retired. Kyle did an incredible job with the resources he had.
Now Kamran Fujimoto has been placed in Kyle’s slot. He is good! It’s been just a few weeks since Kamran came on board, and he’s already treated 14 BBTV sites in the Hilo area, consisting of 38 banana clumps and 167 infected plants.
This video describes the disease, and the method of control.
"Three Minutes on Banana Bunch Top Virus: What You Need to Know"
Once the Hilo area is done, Kamran will turn his attention to the Kea‘au/Puna area. The BIBGA will help Kamran do a survey of the subdivisions. We will be sure to notify the community associations to coordinate.
Also, the Big Island Banana Growers is planning an education program about the virus. It will consist of printed materials, social media, County Fair info and working with people who supply or sell banana plants. If you see an infected plant, call the Department of Agriculture at 974-4145.
People seeking banana keiki should make sure that the source is not infected. Be especially careful when sourcing from the Kea‘au/Puna area. We are finding that many new infected plantings are originating from there.
Our approach is a collaborative one, and we are very grateful to homeowners who have been willing to help us. This is not only beneficial to commercial growers – if we work hard at eradication, homeowners will be able to continue raising bananas. If not, bananas will become very hard to grow at home.
O‘ahu is a good example of runaway BBTV in neighborhoods. Commercial growers are still growing bananas there, but for some homeowners, growing their own bananas is becoming only a memory.
This video, “Bananas at Risk in Kea‘au, Hawai‘i,” was taken just a short time ago, but the land has been bulldozed since.
The plants there must be eradicated, though, or the land will continue to serve as a reservoir from which BBTV can be spread.