Rehabilitating banana fields devastated by Xanthomonas wilt

Promusa published the story of Katana’s banana farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo which illustrates how destructive Xanthomonas wilt can be, but also how manageable it is.
After one year of applying SDSR, nearly all the plants look healthy.

xanthomonas-bud-fruit-symptomsThree years ago, Xanthomonas wilt, commonly known as BXW, reached the village of Katana overlooking Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Within two years the bacterial disease had spread to nearly 80% of the banana plants. At that point many of the farmers decided to clear their fields to make way for other crops. They had cut all the standing banana plants and were about to dig up the underground rhizomes when Jules Ntamwira from Bioversity International’s South Kivu office heard about their predicament. He alerted his colleague Guy Blomme, who was looking for infested fields in which to test the efficiency of the single diseased stem removal technique (SDSR) as an alternative to the recommended uprooting of the entire mat (the rhizome and all its attached plants/stems). The Bioversity scientists couldn’t have asked for a more infested site, given how the still healthy mats probably got infected when the same cutting tools were used on both the sick and healthy stems. All they had to do was convince the farmers to give bananas a second chance. To read more…