Banana Xanthomonas wilt

Lead Organization:

Bioversity International

Partner Organizations:

National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) - Kisii, Rural Energy & Food Security Organisation - REFSO

Community of Practice:

East & Southern Africa


Uganda and Kenya




Banana is important as staple food as well as relatively cheap and accessible source of vitamins and minerals in EAf. Approximately a third of global banana production is grown in sub Saharan Africa where the crop provides more than 25% of food energy requirements for an estimated 70 million people. Furthermore, banana by-products (peels and pseudo stems) provide valuable livestock fodder, especially during the prolonged droughts that periodically affect the region.Bacterial wilt (Xanthomonas campestris pv musacearum) is the major bottleneck for production of banana in East Africa. The disease damages the plant, threatening the livelihood of millions of people who depend on banana as a food and income source. The current control strategy involves destruction of banana plants showing symptoms of wilt. A major limitation of this approach is that latent infection is not detected, so pre-symptomatic plants can still spread the disease. Detection techniques are necessary for devising effective disease control measures. The proposed project aims at developing an integrated and sustainable control measure of bacterial wilt through partnership between an international organization, two national research organizations, and associated regional partners, including NGOs, the national extension systems and a private tissue culture laboratory.

Grant Aims:

Developing and validating management strategies and piloting the best-bet options to increase their adoption by stakeholder platforms along the production-consumption continuumPreparing new knowledge and lessons into policy briefs to inform policy processes locally and nationallyUsing information obtained to revise the current public awareness tools, including BXW web sites and the banana xanthomonas wilt Diagnostic and Management GuideDisease surveillance strategies linked to GIS that will provide information on the current status of the disease and ensure that new disease outbreaks are promptly reported for urgent action

Outputs and Outcomes:

Banana Xanthomonas Wilt I:A lateral flow device for use as a field detection tool for BXW has been developed for detection of Xcm using a polyclonal antibody raised in rabbits. Detection has been successfully demonstrated.One set of activities supports the use of integrated disease management. The team found that the use of clean planting material is one of the least practiced of the recommended cultural control measures: More than 90% of the banana farmers rely on banana suckers from the informal seed system.On-farm disease management strategies controlled disease spread up to 95% in Kenya and more than 80% in Uganda. Improved farmer knowledge and capacity for ecological reasoning could lead to more effective use of current on-farm resources for disease/pest and nutrient cycle management.A regional exchange trip was conducted. Eighteen Kenyan farmers and four institutional staff were inspired by the high level of banana sanitation, high production, big plantation sizes, low levels of BXW incidence, and banana beer and wine processing technologies in benchmark sites in Uganda. Kenyan farmers, inspired by practices observed in Uganda, practiced new set targets of having 50 to 200 mats added to their current farm plantings and wine processing startup enterprises.