Enset (Ensete ventricosum, also known as the false banana) is an underutilized food crop native to Ethiopia and known for its tolerance to drought spells and its high productivity. It is a multi-purpose plant with many local uses, including food, fiber, livestock feed, construction, and medicine. Among agricultural enterprises, enset farming systems support the largest human population density in Ethiopia, which in some areas exceeds 1,000 persons per square kilometer. Despite the importance of the crop in Ethiopia, enset has received little attention from research and development communities. As a result, a host of unaddressed problems occurs along the value chain. Of these, bacterial wilt disease is the most economically important, as it threatens the very survival of enset farming systems. Bacterial wilt is a threat to the livelihoods of more than 20 million smallholder enset farmers.
This project supports the continued efforts of a team of researchers who are working towards the improved management of bacterial wilt on enset in Ethiopia. Successful management of enset bacterial wilt requires a better understanding of disease ecology and effective ways of working with farming communities to implement integrated crop and disease management strategies. The project team will continue to advance both fronts, bringing together a wider network of partners and seeking a deeper understanding of both the social and biophysical dimensions of the challenge. The project will be coordinated by the Southern Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) in partnership with several other organizations that will contribute to planning and implementing the work. These include the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (Ambo and Holleta Research centers), Welkite University, and the Bureau of Agriculture of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State (SNNPR).
Outputs and Outcomes:
Maps of bacterial wilt distribution, prevalence and intensity in enset growing areas generated
Enset population diversity identified and documented
Resistant/tolerant enset clones with good agronomic and cooking traits identified and trialed with farmers
The extent of the danger of enset bacterial wilt (EBW) on food security and livelihood of farmers in enset based farming systems established
The genetic diversity and virulence spectrum of the Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum population in Ethiopia identified and documented
Major abiotic and biotic factors driving epidemics identified
Options and approaches for managing EBW disease in smallholder systems jointly developed and executed by stakeholders
Enset cropping system with optimized resource utilization and reduced EBW incidence identified and promoted
Farmers and other stakeholders will possess greater understanding of the EBW pathosystem, and management practices will contribute to reduction of disease transmission and occurrence
Through the use of innovative community mobilization approaches of disease management, incidence and severity of enset bacterial wilt will be minimized
By engaging a variety of stakeholders in enset growing areas, partnership will be enhanced among stakeholders
Enset production systems will be enhanced through adoption of intensified and sustainable agroecological approaches