3. Uganda: Farmers learn to fight Banana Bacterial Wilt (New Vision, UN Food and Agriculture Organization)

| March 16, 2009

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Farmers in the Mbarara District of Uganda are learning to fight a disease that has ravaged banana crops across the country since 2001.
When a plant is affected by Banana Bacterial Wilt, its leaves turn yellow and droop. Its fruit is often discoloured and destroyed. The disease can spread quickly through a plantation and from farm to farm.

In the Mbarara District, where 95 per cent of farming families depend on the matooke variety of banana, farmers are learning to recognize and stop the disease.
Grace Byarugaba is an agricultural officer for Mbarara District. She explains that farmers should cut and bury diseased banana plants. Tools used for cutting diseased plants must be washed with bleach or heated in fire to kill the bacteria that causes the disease. Ms. Byarugaba also advises that farmers in Mbarara should not plant suckers for three months after discovering diseased banana plants.

For more information on what farmers can do to stop the spread of Banana Bacterial Wilt, visit the following Farm Radio International scripts:
-“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)