Reviving banana production to boost production and income in Ugunja District, western Kenya

| February 22, 2016

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This week’s story from Rwanda is about responding to banana bacterial wilt in Rwanda. Our script of the week tackles the same subject in Kenya.

Kenyan farmers produce one million tonnes of bananas every year. But banana yields have dropped across the country because of declining soil fertility, pests, and diseases.

In western Kenya, Banana Xanthomonas Wilt has been spreading rapidly. Governments and other bodies have created massive awareness campaigns to educate farmers on how to diagnose and prevent the disease from spreading. The campaign teams use the ABCD strategy, which includes:

  1. A) complete removal of diseased plants, including mats
  2. B) burying uprooted and chopped plant materials
  3. C) disinfecting farm tools with sodium hypochlorite or fire
  4. D) timely removal of male buds with a forked stick to prevent insects from spreading the disease

This script is based on interviews with banana farmers in the Ugunja District of western Kenya. The farmers belong to four field schools in the district. At the field schools, farmers learned how to manage fields infected with Xanthomonas Wilt and stop the further spread of the disease.

These farmers helped to revive banana production for household consumption and for markets in Ugunja District.