As a deadly banana disease was recently detected in Tanzania’s Kigoma region, industry players are looking for support. BBTV or Babuvirus is said to be among the most devastating banana viral diseases and can wipe out production by 90 percent. The virus is largely spread by a common banana aphid called Pentalonia nigronervosa.
Resources are needed to map out the disease spread across the country so as to ease containment measures. Experts would also be tasked to develop biosecurity measures and control strategies suitable for smallholder farmers.
“We are reaching out to development partners to seek resources for extensive surveys,” said the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). “In addition, we are liaising with our offices in Central Africa who have experience working on this disease.”
Early this month, IITA raised an alarm over the banana viral disease that it says has been detected in the country. This was after DNA samples from banana plants with typical virus symptoms from Buhigwe District tested positive.
An article in thecitizen.co.tz states that farmers spread the disease further through sharing of infected planting material, the agricultural think tank further said.
Rungwe District demands special markets
Growers in the Rungwe District have also asked the federal government to set up special banana markets, to reduce the problem of growers selling their produce in the fields. According to some farmers, the lack of a reliable banana market is leading to even lower prices compared to the prices that other areas sell, including Kyela and Tukuyu.