Strengthening partnerships along value chains to manage Xanthomonas wilt of bananas in the East & Horn of Africa: a project supported by Mc Knight Foundation
In the East and Horn of Africa, a significant proportion of on-farm productivity loss is attributable to diseases and pests which become endemic in the production systems when not eradicated before they are established. Over time, such systems remain a bastion of diseases and pests which continue to constrain agricultural productivity and to consign farming communities to abject poverty. In this region the situation has worsened over the last decade with the outbreak and the establishment of Xanthomonas wilt of bananas (BXW) caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv musacearum, that has massively decimated Musa crop-stands across production systems in East and Central Africa, making it barely possible for smallholder farmers to survive on this resource.
The project is mobilizing partnerships along banana value chain to mitigate Xanthomonas wilt threats to banana production. Read more
Strengthening the capacity of regional NARS to sustainably manage outbreaks of banana Xanthomonas wilt in East and Central Africa
The banana industry in Eastern Africa is a major factor in the region’s food and income security strategy, without which many of the countries would have been net importers of food. Until recently the main biotic threats (weevils, nematodes, fungal and viral diseases) were managed through the use of cultural practices that exploited the differences in resistance / tolerance of the cultivars on farm. In this way farmers suffered reduced productivity but maintained a reasonable level of food and income security. However with the arrival of the Xanthomonas wilt of bananas in the region, entire crop holdings were wiped out in some areas where highly susceptible genotypes were dominating the farming systems.
With the new disease in the region, local knowledge and experiences were too limited to facilitate outright action against the disease. It was therefore necessary to build the capacity for the stakeholders, particularly the farmers and extension agents not only to recognize and manage / control the disease, but also to form the basis at the national and regional levels, for organizing surveillance and monitoring the disease to ensure timely action is taken against the scourge.