THE Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) is advising people to contact its nearest office if they find any unusual signs or diseases on their papaya plants.
This follows the discovery of a papaya disorder in certain backyard gardens and farms in the Sigatoka area last week.
Authority CEO Elvis Silvestrini said a team from BAF and Department of Agriculture officers visited papaya farms in Sigatoka after receiving requests to assist with problems they were facing with their papaya plants.
"Our teams conducted surveys of the farms as well as the papaya plants in backyard gardens in the area. We did find signs that point towards a papaya disorder and our scientists are in the process of identifying it," Mr Silvestrini said.
"We have collected samples from these plants and have sent cultures to the Landcare Research Institute in New Zealand for phylogenetic analysis and authentication.
"We want to advise people of the disorder and request them to contact BAF if they find any unusual signs on their papaya plants."
These signs include:
* yellow leaves with rotting along the edge of the leaves;
* water soaked areas on the base of the leaf stalk, crown and on the leaf mid ribs; and
* foul odour coming from infected fruits and plant tissues.
"Our officers on the ground have been informing papaya farmers of this disorder and we have been working with our papaya exporters, Nature's Way Co-operative and other important stakeholders to keep them informed," Mr Silvestrini said.