Guava Root-Knot Nematode Training Program for Sweet Potato Workers

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NC State Extension announces the availability of a new training program for workers in sweet potato packing houses regarding the Guava Root-Knot Nematode (GRKN).

The GRKN Training Program is an interactive session with a focus on creating a GRKN prevention culture in packing plants by educating workers. The training explains how to detect potential symptoms of infection in sweet potato and instructs workers on how to respond to symptoms if detected on the packing line.

The program also explains the impact of GRKN on sweet potato production in North Carolina, which grows roughly 60 percent of the country’s sweet potatoes, tops in the U.S  since 1971.

The GRKN Training Program is not intended as a replacement for regular soil sampling, nor does it provide regulatory guidance. Rather it serves as a robust tool for instructing packing house workers in the timely detection of potentially infected sweet potatoes.

The training program uses high quality photographs of sweet potatoes infected with GRKN to aid workers inrecognizing and distinguishing symptoms that can potentially indicate infection by GRKN. The training session lasts approximately 45 minutes and is designed to be delivered on-site to minimize packing house down time.

Further, instruction is offered in Spanish by educators from the Extension Farmworker Health and Safety Program to support worker comprehension.  Involvement of the packing house owner, manager or senior supervisor during the training program is highly suggested, to ensure GRKN protocols specific to each packing house operation are discussed with workers.

At this time, the GRKN Training Program is offered to sweet potato packing facilities in eastern and central North CarolinaTo learn more about the training program, or to schedule a session at your facility, please contact Luis Cruz alt 919-210-8805 or by email at

The GRKN Training Program was created to contribute to the North Carolina campaign to combat GRKN. It is financially supported by NC State Extension and the Extension Farmworker Health and Safety Program.

Visit Extension’s GRKN Resources page for more information and materials.