|Authors: ||P.C.E. Lepoint, R. Sibomana, C. Niyongere, G. Blomme|
|Keywords: ||Banana bunchy top virus, farmer awareness, control options, incidence, severity, cropping systems, Pentalonia nigronervosa|
Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) was reported for the first time in Burundi in 1987. Ever since, the disease has continued its spread throughout the Rusizi valley, reaching ever-higher altitudes, as no specific measures are being taken for its control.
Management of BBTD through symptom and vector identification and good cultural practices was evaluated during a 1-year period in an on-farm, research-led trial at Munyika (Cibitoke Province) in a predominant monocrop system of ‘Yangambi Km 5’ (AAA). In addition, a “new start” demonstration trial consisting of in vitro ‘FHIA-03’ (AAAB), ‘FHIA-17’ (AAAA) and ‘FHIA-23’ (AAAA) plantlets was established 80 m away from existing plantations.
In parallel, two contrasting control sites (no awareness raising and no cultural practices) within Cibitoke were identified (Mparambo II, ‘Yangambi Km 5’ monocrop and Muyange, ‘Igitsiri’/‘Igisahira’ (AAA-EA) intercrop). BBTD incidence and severity were recorded quarterly in all three sites.
Results indicate that initial BBTD incidence varied from one site to another, with lower incidence in ‘Igitsiri’/‘Igisahira’ intercropping systems (8.6%) compared to ‘Yangambi Km 5’ monocropping systems (30.9%). Furthermore, in the pilot village Munyika, disease incidence was higher in the vicinity of households (26.2%) versus in recent plantations (2.7%). Data collected in Munyika show that when appropriate cultural practices are applied and adhered to, within a year, BBTD incidence can be reduced to economically acceptable levels in an existing plantation (26.2 to 8.2%) and in new plantations (2%, FHIA trial). Moreover, severity is equally reduced, highlighting that farmers are presently familiar with initial symptoms and regularly scout fields to eradicate diseased plants.
However, low adherence to proposed management practices underlines that most farmers – despite awareness raising – are reluctant to uproot the entire mat (100% of farmers) or the diseased corm (78% of farmers) when a single plant manifests visible symptoms.
Refusal to conform to proposed practices might prove to be a limiting factor to sustainable management of BBTD in Burundi.
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