Quarantine for banana crop on Kaua’i approved

HONOLULU (AP) — The state Board of Agriculture has approved a quarantine on

the movement of banana plants on Kaua’i to help eliminate the bunchy top


The quarantine means banana plants can’t be moved around or off the

island without a permit, but for now growers can still sell the fruit, Kaua’i

farmers said after Thursday’s vote.

Only the fruit of the banana plant may

be moved because it does not spread the virus.

Violation of the quarantine

could result in fines of $100 to $10,000.

“In order to rid Kaua’i of this

disease, it is important for the whole community to not move banana plants

anywhere,” said James Nakatani, chair of the BOA. “Although a tiny aphid is the

vector of this virus, the disease is also spread by humans moving infected


There was no order for banana plants to be destroyed.


plant quarantine officials may later recommend such an order.


Ornellas, owner of Kainahola Banana Farms, thinks that his banana plants will

eventually have to be destroyed.

The virus is carried from sick plants to

healthy plants by a tiny aphid.

The disease was discovered in April by

commercial banana growers near Kapa’a, where Kaua’i’s largest banana farms are


An islandwide survey showed the virus is present in a much larger

area than originally thought.

Two years ago, 25,000 banana plants in

Kaua’i’s Kilauea area were destroyed, and it was believed the disease had been


In 1998, Kaua’i produced a half-million pounds of bananas,

which had sales value of about $212,000.

Symptoms of BBTVinclude young

leaves that are stunted, resulting in a bunchy appearance. Leaf edges are

yellowish and may curl upward. Lower leaf stems and midribs may exhibit

streaks, which are darker in color.

As the disease progresses, streaking

can be found on plant leaves. Infected plants produce small, deformed fruits;

and in advanced stages, banana plants do not produce any fruit.


plants may also carry the virus without showing obvious signs of infection.

There are no chemicals that can prevent or cure BBTV.

If residents on

Kaua’i suspect their plants have the disease, call HDOA’s Kaua’i office at

274-3069 or the HDOA’s Plant Pest Control Branch on O’ahu at (808)



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