Food and Agribusiness

Banana production faces threat

Banana, one of the staple foods in East Africa, is under threat from a fungal disease. Kagera region in Tanzania and Luwero districts in Uganda are the most affected areas. Black Sigatoka leaf disease is caused by fungus Pseudocercospora fijiensis’ and was first reported in Tanzania in 1987 and Uganda in 1990. The survey on the severity of the problem has been sponsored by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Recommendations include the use of disease resistant banana varieties as the use of fungicides is not an option for resource constrained smallholder farmers.

As per estimates, East African Community (EAC) bloc generates annual revenue of the tune of $4.3 billion. Tanzania itself produces more than 3.5 million tonnes annually on an area of about 760,000 hectares as per 2016 data with more than 50% consumption within the country.

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