|December 2008. A entry on the ProMed-mail post reported a fungus on vanilla in Madagascar as follows: Madagascar farming officials say a deadly and incurable crop disease has spread widely in the island's main vanilla-producing area.
Assessment teams say in a report released on Monday [8 Dec 2008] that the world's main vanilla producer has to radically change farming methods to fight the fungus.
Malagasy agronomic research chief Simeon Rakotomamonjy says the situation is "critical". He says the disease has hit 80 per cent of plantations around Sambava and Andapa, 2 of 3 main centers of vanilla production on the Indian Ocean island's north east coast.
Most of Madagascar's vanilla is exported to the United States, where it is used for making confectionary, soft drinks, and ice cream.
While members pointed out that suggestions for remedy should await determination of the cause, nevertheless, a members from several countries suggestred that control of soil borne diseases - Fusarium and Phytophthora, for instance - might be obtained using Trichoderma spp. In India, In India, Fusarium oxysporum is a devastating soil-borne pathogen and causes infection starting from the basal part and spreads to the beans. Here, there has been demonstrated efficacy of Trichoderma harzianum against such soil borne disease of vanilla and it is commonly used by farmers.
There was a further suggestion that based on experience in southern Africa, the problem may be amenable to control by adding an endophyte, mulch and silicon to the preparation of Trichoderma.
Photos of a root crot problem from India that was controlled successfully were sent. NOTE THESE ARE NOT FROM MADAGASCAR BUT FROM INDIA AND THE CAUSE AND TREATMENT WERE NOT STATED.