The banana streak and the banana mosaic are two different diseases with the same symptoms.
The two diseases are some of the commonest banana diseases in the country.
Though both are not as dangerous as the banana bacterial wilt, they cause big losses to farmers in terms of reduced size of bunches and harvests.
In recent years, the banana streak disease has affected the districts of Masaka, Rakai, Lyantonde, Ssembabule with devastating consequences.
The virus derives its name from the characteristic symptoms it causes — streaking of leaves.
How it spreads
Banana streak is a virus that is transmitted by mealybugs. On the other hand, banana mosaic is caused by a cucumber virus which is transmitted by aphids.
Both are spread when infected suckers are planted in clean fields. Some observers have said the presence of sugarcane in the shamba may increase incidences of the disease because sugarcane has got a virus called bacilli and can be transmitted by the sugarcane mealy bug.
What are the effects?
Reduces plant growth
Reduces the size of the bunches
Severe infection causes the cigar leaf and the centre of the plant to turn brown and die.
Chloritic streaks and spindle-shaped lesions which become golden, orange, brown then necrotic.
Golden yellow streaks can be seen on the leaves of the affected plants.
They gradually eat the leaves until, in many cases, they completely take over them.
Gradually in many cases, the yellow streaks turn into brown. They may disappear and reappear.
Sometimes, the streaks appear black.
How to stop it
Mulch and weed; bananas can tolerate these diseases if they are regularly mulched and weeded.
Mulching and weeding reduces yield loss to below 20%.
Destroy sick plants. Dig up sick plants and their suckers, even if the suckers seem healthy. Put them in a pit and burn them up to ashes.
Use clean suckers; be careful with the suckers that you are planting.
Make sure that none of them is infected by the diseases.