How to Combat a Devastating Crop Disease? Hint: Involve Farmers
Livelihoods in East and Central Africa are seriously threatened by Banana Xanthomonas Wilt, a devastating disease causing up to 100% yield loss and severely damaging the livelihoods and food security of banana farming households across the region. In Uganda, Bioversity International has strengthened the capacity of hundreds of farmers to better manage the disease. Simple practices such as destroying the infected plants, removing the male buds, and disinfecting farm tools are very effective measures against Banana Xanthomonas Wilt. Bioversity gave farmers the opportunity to learn these practices and other disease-management options through regional meetings, farmer exchange visits, and farmer field schools.
As a result of more effective disease control practices, the average farm yield has increased from 5-10 bunches per acre per week to 15-20 bunches, allowing farmers to sell more bananas in the market and gain financial stability for their families and communities. Building on the experience and tools developed during the project, Bioversity International is developing a second phase to scale up the adoption of effective disease-management practices.