Knowledge for Development

Banana diseases hit African crops


Date: 18/09/2009


CGIAR has warned that supplies in several African countries are under threat because two diseases are attacking bananas. Crops are being damaged from Angola through to Uganda - including many areas where bananas are a staple food. Experts are urging farmers to use pesticides or change to a resistant variety of banana where possible. Scientists have been meeting in Tanzania to decide how to tackle the diseases, which are spread by insects. In a statement CGIAR said ‘drastic and expensive control measures’ were needed. These include ‘completely excavating entire banana fields and treating them with pesticides, or burning the plants’. Experts say the two diseases - bunchy top viral disease and bacterial wilt - are both spread by insects and very few varieties of banana have resistance to them. (Source: BBC News, 27 August 2009)

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