Factsheet of the month: April 2015 – Trapping banana weevils

Banana weevils factsheetAccording to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Tanzania and Uganda, who produce almost half of all bananas in Africa, are only achieving 9% of their expected yield. This year sees the start of a 5-year project to develop high-yielding, pest resistant banana hybrids. Rony Swennen, the project’s leader, says that he hopes this will help to increase resistance to pests such as nematodes, Black Sigatoka and banana weevils. Banana weevils are found in virtually all banana-growing countries of the world and can cause severe damage to the banana plant. The weevils bore into the trunk and roots, which weakens the plants and can cause them to collapse altogether. This month’s Factsheet of the month explains how banana weevil populations can be reduced using traps made from 2 halves of a freshly cut banana stem.

 This factsheet was written by an agronomist from the Ministry of Agriculture in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is also available in French.

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Update: Plant Health News (25 Mar 15)

Costa Rica's first carbon neutral banana farm had reduced its use of nitrogen fertilizers, reduced electricity consumption and improved the efficiency of transportation © The LEAF Project (CC BY-SA)

Costa Rica’s first carbon neutral banana farm has reduced nitrogen fertilizer and electricity use, and improved transportation efficiency © The LEAF Project (CC BY-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including early reports on the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, the first carbon neutral banana farm recognised in Costa Rica and training for Citrus farmers in Ghana on the use of technology to increase yields.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Update: Plant Health News (25 Feb 15)

Uganda are considering use of GM bananas resistant to Xanthomonas wilt © Pascale Lepoint / Bioversity International

Uganda are considering use of GM bananas resistant to Xanthomonas wilt © Pascale Lepoint / Bioversity International

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the Giant African land snails invading Cuba, the debate over GM bananas in Uganda and a new report from the World Food Programme on connecting farmers to markets.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Update: Plant Health News (21 May 14)

Scientists have discovered the mechanism for pink bollworm resistance to Bt cotton (David Nance, USDA)

Scientists have discovered the mechanism for pink bollworm resistance to Bt cotton (David Nance, USDA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the discovery of how pests develop resistance to biotech cotton, the intensification of the battle against coffee rust, and a biodiversity assessment of over 10,000 Ghanaian cocoa farms.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Update: Plant Health News (18 Dec 13)

New technology can improve the detection papaya viruses © Prato9x

New technology can improve the detection of papaya viruses © Prato9x

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the use of technology to improve the detection of papaya viruses, toxins discovered in banana root tissue kill root pests and the vital importance of water conservation in Nigeria to avoid food crises.

Click on the links to read more of the latest plant health news!

 

 

 

 

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Update: Plant Health News (08 May 13)

The Australian banana industry wants a banana production and marketing information system to improve its resilience to cyclones, pests and diseases.

The banana industry is planning an information system to reduce crop loss

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the risk of Septoria attack if sprays are delayed, an internet data portal plan from the banana industry and new plant protein discoveries that could ease global food and fuel demands.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Banana bacterial wilt leaves thousands hungry in Tanzania

Use a fork shaped stick to twist and break the male flower bud off of the banana plant. © CABI

Use a fork shaped stick to twist and break the male flower bud off of the banana plant. © CABI

According to IPP Media, over 8,000 people in 15 villages in Kagera region of Tanzania are in dire need of food relief following an outbreak of banana bacterial disease that has destroyed 90% of the banana crop. Bananas are the staple food for people in the region. Adam Malima, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives, told the National Assembly earlier this week that the government has allocated 300 tonnes of maize to be distributed to people in the area.

Banana bacterial wilt (or “banana slim”) is easily spread through pollinating insects, tools and planting material. Disease management is notoriously difficult, often involving cultural methods that can be impractical for smallholders. One easy method of prevention involves breaking off the male flower bud using a fork-shaped stick.

The male flower bud is often where the bacteria enters the plant. Pollinating insects collect nectar from the bud and carry nectar from plant to plant, transferring the bacteria at the same time. Removing the male bud soon after formation of the last cluster stops insects from spreading the disease. A forked stick can be used to twist and break the bud. This is better than cutting the bud off with a knife which might spread the bacteria.

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