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Researchers show consequences of inaction on devastating banana disease


by The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Lurking inside the crops of banana-producing-areas in east and central Africa is a disease called Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW)—and new modeling by researchers from the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT has shown that if left uncontrolled, this bacterial disease could cause a 55% reduction in banana production in newly affected regions within 10 years.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) statistics, Africa south of the Sahara (SSA) produces about 50 million tons of banana per year, that is, about a third of global production and covering more than seven million hectares (60% of global growing areas)

BXW, a disease caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas vasicola pv. musacearum (Xvm), is the most widespread bacterial disease in Africa and it has been characterized as one of the four most important emerging infectious diseases of crop plants in developing countries.

In a new paper, "The potential impact of banana Xanthomonas wilt on food systems in Africa: modeling scenarios of policy response and disease control measures", published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, the researchers modeled three scenarios of BXW spread based on assumptions about the level of response by governments and farmers: two where the steps are not taken fully (the slow and limited scenario) and one where they are not taken at all (the zero scenario).

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