This Fast Track project is a feasibility study to establish the groundwork for a wider programme of initiatives aimed at reducing pesticide use in banana production (PRPB). Solutions were foreseen at mid-term (less than 5 years) and long-term (greater than 10 years) and aimed at the development of a sustainable production system, both under intensive industrial production environments as well as low input subsistence farming. The overall goal of the PRPB is to reduce pesticide input by 50% in ten years by 1) Adoption and implementation of new technologies for a sustainable production at farm level 2) Development of innovative, alternative and more sustainable pest management strategies 3) Identification of functional genes in host-pathogen interactions 4) To maximize durability of disease resistance and 5) Development of disease resistant banana varieties.
The feasibility study included a stakeholder meeting (November 20-22, 2007). During the first day, after an introductory overview of the current state of art in banana research, work sessions were organized in order to maximize exchange of opinions. These were then summarized during small group reports to the participants. The second day was devoted to field visits that enabled exchange between participants and banana plantation workers and managers. Finally, during the third day scenario building was practiced and discussed in group activities that eventually resulted in a final session on strategy building and proposal development. The Fast Track facility helped WUR-PRI to develop strategic research in a new crop and to establish new international contacts.