Banana weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) reduces availability of corms for seedling production through macropropagation technology
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Banana (Musa spp.) is one of the most important fruits in Kenya for food security and income generation for major smallholders who own less than 10 hectares of land. The weevil (C. sordidus) is a devastating pest of banana especially in the warm regions. The larva is the most damaging stage of the weevil and causes tunnelling in the corm. Macropropagation technology is a cost effective method for mass production of banana seedlings from the corm. Heavy attacks by weevils on corms reduce their suitability of selection for propagation, leading to rejection. In this study, selected farms (in Central and Eastern regions of Kenya) were assessed for certification as sources of healthy banana corms for Macropropagation. In Eastern region, some plantations were heavily infested with weevils leading to a rejection rate of over 20% where the temperatures are warm, (25°C - 30°C ) and favour thriving of the weevil. Although weevils are not transmitted from the corm to the suckers generated through macropropagation, the results show that chemical and cultural control measures should be taken to reduce weevil attacks and thereby increase availability of higher quality corms for propagation. The corms that are lightly infested should be well pared to remove all larvae and cured fully before placing in the propagation chamber.