Proper hygiene and sanitation in farming will eliminate the banana bacterial wilt disease according to experts at the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO).
The disease continues to wreak havoc in matooke producing districts especially in western Uganda, some of the major suppliers of bananas in the country. This implies that matooke prices may not come down because the major supplying areas continue to be hit by the disease.
Experts advise farmers to observe proper sanitation to prevent further spread.
Farmers should identify the infected plant and carefully remove it without affecting the healthy plants.
Farmers should wash their hands with disinfectants after touching the infected plant.
All affected plants should be burnt.
Tools used on sick plants should be sterilised because they can easily spread the disease.
Fruit flies should be avoided by removing the male buds of a plant, which attracts flies, especially during pollination, thus spreading the disease.
Restrict movement in the banana plantation.
Symptoms of wilt
Exeperts explain that a farmer can identify a sick plant by looking out for some of the following symptoms;
– Leaves turn yellow.
– When the plant is cut, a liquid oozes out, giving off a bad smell.
– The fruits (bananas) ripen fast but have a bad smell.
Experts also warn against feeding animals on the affected plants, adding that they are failing to control the spread of the disease partly due to the laxity on the part of farmers.
The long-term solution to the disease is to breed banana varieties that are resistant to the disease and other pests.
NARO has been undertaking some field trials on some banana breeds to come up with resistant varieties that can withstand both the wilt and other pests. In the meantime, proper hygiene and sanitation on the part of farmers could eliminate the disease.