Costa Rica Could Produce Its First Genetically Modified Banana


Following Australia's announcement in February of this year that it would authorize the world's first genetically modified (GM) banana, the QCAV-4, resistant to Fusarium Race 4 or TR4, a news portal recently announced that Costa Rica could also introduce its first GM product to the market: a disease-resistant banana variety. According to the report, the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in San Jose revealed that the new variety would resist the Black Sigatoka and Fusarium Race 4 or TR4 wilt.

Costa Rica's Ministry of Agriculture confirmed that the first steps have been taken to advance research efforts. There is an intention of a company to apply for approval from the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE) to initiate a study about Black Sigatoka and validate promising plant traits for Fusarium wilt in the future. However, to date, the request has not been formalized, according to the SFE sub-directorate. The ministry said the request for investigation must be formalized by the company before providing further details. An update to Costa Rica's regulatory framework in November 2023 is expected to expand the country's biotech sector and facilitate the commercialization of genetically modified products.

The FAS reported that the most relevant changes in regulation are related to genome editing, which was not addressed in the previous regulatory framework. Under the new regulation, Costa Rica would treat a wide range of products created with innovative biotechnologies as equivalent to conventional products.To work with GM products, interested parties must contact the Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture for approval. In February, Australia announced the release of the world's first genetically modified banana for commercial use. QCAV-4 resists Tropical Race 4 of the Panama disease, a pest that threatens Cavendish banana production worldwide.