Distribution, Incidence and Farmer Knowledge of Banana Xanthomonas Wilt in Rwanda
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Banana Xanthomonas wilt was reported in Rwanda in 2005. The present study was conducted to determine the distribution and incidence of the disease and farmer knowledge of disease symptoms, modes of spread and control. A survey was conducted in Rwanda in 2009–2010 in 12 major banana-growing districts of the country. One hundred and eight banana growers were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Farmers were asked about knowledge of disease symptoms, spread, control and use of control methods. They were also asked about their sources of information on Xanthomonas wilt. Direct field observations were made of the distribution and incidence of the disease as well. The proportion of fields with Xanthomonas wilt was highest in Rutsiro (89%) and lowest in Kayonza and Ruhango (11%). The disease was not found in Gakenke, Kicukiro or Ngoma. Within-farm incidence was highest in Rutsiro (average 36%) and lowest in Kayonza (1%). The awareness of disease symptoms ranged from 53% (discoloured fruit pulp) to 84% (wilting leaves). For modes of spread, the highest proportion of farmers (73%) was aware of the role of contaminated tools while the least known mode was spread via soil and water (24%). Some 72% of famers were aware of uprooting plants as a control measure. There were large differences between awareness and use of tool disinfection and destruction of infected plants as control measures. There is a need to develop user-friendly methods of disease control. The creation of awareness in newly affected and Xanthomonas wilt-free areas is advocated. Participatory approaches are encouraged as they may reduce the gap between knowledge and adoption of control measures.