Resistance threatens banana restoration project in Malawi

The Malawi government has expressed concern over pockets of resistance, by banana farmers in Thyolo, to uprooting fruit trees that were affected by Banana Banctops.

Assistant District Agriculture Development Officer Boniface Kautale told Mana Thursday in Thyolo that so far his office, with assistance from community leaders, has managed to uproot 38,138 hectares of banana.

"The exercise was delayed, as people were reluctant to uproot till they saw the banana crop down. Our thanks go to traditional leaders who took a leading role to sensitize the community to understand the importance of uprooting the crops so that they should be given a clean crop," he said.

Kautale said resisting uprooting the old crop is risking transmission of the banana diseases to the new crops.

The Agriculture officer was quick to say that his office would be spraying chemicals on those that have been replanted to stop aphids from transmitting the disease to the new crops, while however, emphasizing the need to uproot all old banana crops.

He added that the council has engaged the Bvumbwe Research Station to ensure that only high quality clean crops were being replanted.

Kautale pointed out that some nongovernmental organizations like the Red Cross, through the District Agriculture Office, were doing a great job to replant bananas in the district.

"So far we have covered a good number of hectares and we are consolidating data in terms of replanting but we still have a long way to go to cover the whole district," he added.

Banana has been the main source of income for most people in Thyolo for many years, however it was greatly affected by Banctops

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