Training Stakeholders for Management of Banana Xanthomonas Wilt
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Since 2001, a Banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW) pandemic has been spreading rapidly in East and Central Africa. In affected regions the disease has drastically reduced banana productivity, with adverse impact on livelihoods of banana dependent communities. Considering that BXW is a relatively new disease in the region, lack of knowledge on disease recognition and management,has been identified as one of the factors contributing to disease spread. Therefore, increasing the knowledge base of banana producers is an important component of integrated management of BXW. The Crop Crisis Control project (C3P) was instituted as a regional initiative to address BXW in East and Central Africa, partly through education, training and communication programs targeting banana growers. The C3P training program was initiated with two regional training workshops in September/October 2006 on diagnosis and management of BXW and production of healthy banana planting materials. The participants from each country were selected to represent technical, extension, and policy making institutions. Training involved lectures, field visits, handouts and additional training materials provided in electronic form (compact and flash disks). Upon return to their countries those trained at regional level were expected to conduct further training, thereby increasing the number of people with knowledge on BXW management up to farmer level. The C3P training program has contributed to a significant increase in the number of extension and research staff (>1000), as well as farmers (>30,000) currently equipped with knowledge for BXW management in the region. Challenges encountered in executing the training program include differences in capacity and resources (human, administrative, infrastructure and financial) between countries, as well as in their perception of BXW threat, in addition to meeting the needs of Francophone and Anglophone stakeholders.