Improving scalable banana agronomy for small-scale farmers in highland banana cropping systems in East Africa.
PROJECT PI, Co-PI AND OTHER TEAM MAMBERS:
Dr. Jerome Kubiriba (PI), National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO)
Assoc. Prof. Arthur Tugume (Makerere University-based PI)
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
Bioversity International-CIAT Alliance
Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)
African Soil Health Consortium (ASH-C)
The significance of banana in the livelihoods of people in east and central Africa accounts for close to 4% of the GDP of the entire region. Most of the genotypes grown have emerged through centuries of farmer-assisted selection and are unique to the region. Wide yield gaps were previously observed because whereas the potential to yield and solve food shortages, many constraints accounted for failure to reach banana’s yield potential. The constraints included pests and diseases, drought spells and soil infertility. This project attempted a holistic approach to the banana production chain including marketing. Makerere University’s workstream however focused on redefining the contributions of banana xanthomonas wilt (BXW) as the main biotic constraint to banana productivity. BXW is caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris musacearum (Xcm). The study also assessed the incidence of latent Xcm infections and promotion of carefully crafted cultural practices to enhance escape of banana plantations from further BXW-based damage in infested fields. This project was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).