The Status of Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (Xanthomonas campestris pv musacearum) in western Kenya
MetadataShow full item record
Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW), caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campesris pv musacearum was reported in a single farm in Mukono district of Uganda in 2001. By early 2006 it was confirmed in 33 districts of Uganda, parts of Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Disease spread between plants is mainly by insect pollinators and contaminated farm tools. The main mode of long distance spread is banana trade (fruits, leaves and planting material). Insect transmitted infections lead to wilting and rotting of the banana male bud, pre-mature ripening and rotting of fingers that become unpalatable. Infections from contaminated tools and infected suckers start as wilting of leaves that eventually dry. Infected plants die within two weeks. Yield losses can be up to 100%. Due to its rapid spread, BXW poses a great threat to banana production in the East and Central Africa region. Understanding of the disease status and establishment of farmer practices that may pre-dispose bananas to BXW are crucial to preparedness for effective disease management. The objectives of this study therefore were to establish, the status of BXW and the existing banana production practices in banana orchards in Western Kenya. A survey was conducted in September, 2006 in 14 districts located in Western and Nyanza Provinces. A questionnaire was administered by face to face interview with the farmers to capture data on banana production practices. Wilted bananas were observed in Teso, Bungoma and Busia districts in western Kenya. Symptoms were similar to those previously reported in Uganda. Pathogenicity tests confirmed the causal organism as Xanthomonas campestris pv mucasearum. The outbreak in western Kenya is significant because this region produces over 60% of bananas in Kenya, and therefore could have serious consequences on food and income 2 Mbaka et al Status of banana Xanthomonas wilt in Kenya- 3 security of small-scale banana farmers. Technologies developed and validated in Uganda can be used to stop disease spread.