Up to 16 African countries have now experienced the banana bunchy top disease (BBTD), caused by the banana bunchy top virus. The virus is also endangering the diversity of banana varieties grown by these farmers. The CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) is combating the virus through the Alliance for Banana Bunchy Top Disease Control in Africa.
The BBTD Alliance convened international, multi-stakeholder teams fostering cutting-edge research for development (R4D) to establish practical solutions so farmers can once again produce bananas for food and income. The Alliance has collaborated with national programs, building their capacity to detect, surveil, and control BBTD.
The BBTD Alliance develops new knowledge and management technologies, facilitates training and information exchange, and supports national partners and farmer organizations. Seed entrepreneurs, extension agents, farmers, and plant health inspectors are learning to diagnose the disease in the field, identify rogue infected plants, and produce clean planting material. In 2020, RTB developed an online training course on disease recognition and eradication.