Knowledge for Crop Disease Management: The Case of Banana Xanthomonas Wilt
The Banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW) pandemic has spread rapidly in East and Central Africa since the initial outbreak in 2001. Affected banana plantations have had drastically reduced productivity, which has severely affected food and income security, and the attendant quality of livelihoods. It has been recognised that lack of knowledge on disease recognition and management is one of the key factors that have contributed to rapid BXW spread. Therefore, addressing this aspect to increase and improve the knowledge base of banana producers would be an important component in integrated disease management. The regional Crop Crisis Control project (C3P) was developed as a multi-country effort to reduce the sprad and imapct of BXW, partly through education and training of banana growers and other stakeholders. 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. 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. Within one year, the C3P training program managed to significantly increase the number of knowledgeable extension and research staff (>1000) and farmers (>30,000), who have considerably sterngthened the human resource base employed against this disease. This paper describes the training strategy developed and captures the challenges encountered in executing it.