Banana Bunchy Top Outbreak Raging in Malawi
Malawi is still grappling with banana bunchy top, a viral disease that has attacks bananas for close to three years now with solutions nowhere in sight.
Agriculture experts in the Northern region are now concerned that production of bananas has been seriously reduced despite efforts aimed at containing the outbreak.
Mzuzu Agricultural Development Division Office Program Manager, Wellington Phewa, says the raging virus continues to threaten the banana market.
Malawi is, in the meantime, having to import bananas from neighboring Tanzania.
Phewa warns that should the fight on the virus not be won, Malawi bananas could go extinct.
“We’ve lost a lot of banana plantains all over Malawi. Everybody knows. Actually Malawi is eating bananas from Tanzania and Mozambique. It is clear testimony that our resources have gone down. That’s a trend we want to reverse as quickly as possible,” he said.
Echoing the remarks, Vice Chancellor for LUANAR, Professor George Kanyama Phiri, says the institution is currently working on producing clean banana suckers to reverse the situation.
“At LUANAAR, we have labs that are capable of producing tissue culture by technology laboratory which produces clean material and this clean material is the one that we recommend should be used,” said Professor Kanyama-Phiri.
For years now, banana farmers have resisted calls to cut and burn affected crops before replanting new and clean material.