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Burundi: banana disease entered country

The results of Banana Xanthomonas Wilt

A team of researchers have confirmed for the first time that a harmful banana bacterial disease, known as Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW), has made its way into Burundi’s borders from neighboring countries, most likely Tanzania, Rwanda and possibly Democratic Republic of Congo. The survey was sponsored by the Crop Crisis Control project (C3P) led by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in partnership with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

BXW causes early ripening and rotting of the banana fruits, and results in the wilting and death of the plant. Left uncontrolled, BXW could have serious further impacts on the food security situation in Burundi, which was recently declared the most food insecure country in the world by the International Food Policy Research Group (IFPRG).

Bananas are considered the most important food crop in Burundi, with an estimated average consumption of 300 kg per year. Up to 25% of the cultivated area in Burundi is planted with bananas, as they serve not only as an essential food source and socio-cultural role, but also a significant income generation source, as bananas are sold both for eating and the manufacture of banana beer, known locally as "ugwagwa" and "insongo".