Notes to broadcasters on banana bacterial wilt

    | September 12, 2011

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    Banana bacterial wilt, or Xanthomonas wilt (often written as BXW), is a relatively new disease that infects bananas. Leaves turn yellow and droop, and the plant dies, leaving farmers with no harvest. It spreads easily, via insects or through infected tools or clothing. Governments in East Africa have moved fast to contain it and develop resistant varieties. Farmers are being advised to take precautionary actions to prevent the disease spreading, such as burying infected plants.

    For more information, visit:

    For other recent news stories about banana wilt, see:

    -Burundi: Banana blight threatens food security

    At this link, you can listen to and download an audio of the story: “Banana blight raises food security concerns in Burundi”

    Farm Radio International has produced scripts on bacterial wilt:

    -Farmers Try to Beat a Virulent Disease (Package 81, Script 6, August 2007)

    -Recommendations for Managing Bacterial Wilt in Bananas for Eastern Africa (Package 71, Script 2, June 2004)

    Previous stories in Farm Radio Weekly include:

    Uganda: Cassava stems are a simple solution to devastating banana diseases (FRW 81, September 2009)

    Uganda: Text messages are new weapon in fight against banana disease (FRW 62, April 2009)

    If you broadcast to a banana-growing region, you may wish to produce a program which explains the symptoms of the disease, and what farmers should do if they suspect their plants are infected. You may be able to visit farmers who have been affected. You could interview them and share their stories on-air. Contact your local agricultural department for the latest updates and news from your region on the spread of banana wilt and information on what to do to contain it.