Effectiveness of macropropagation technology in production of disease free banana seedlings in central and eastern Kenya
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Banana (Musa spp.) is one of the most important food crops that contribute to the food security of the majority small holders in Kenya. However, due to diseases, banana production has not reached its full potential. Fusarium wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc); black and yellow sigatoka leaf spot caused by Mycosphaerella fijiensis and Mycosphaerella musicola respectively, weevils (Cosmopolites sordidus) and plant parasitic nematodes have been the major diseases affecting banana seedlings. In addition, banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW) caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas vasicola pv. musacearum is a disease that rapidly destroys plantations. Most of these diseases are spread by use of infected planting material. Macropropagation is a cost effective seedling production technology which can be implemented with little capital and skill to provide planting material. The study was carried out to determine the potential of the the technology to produce healthy banana seedlings. From the study, the macropropagation technique has potential for banana seedlings multiplication only if the mother corms were healthy.