African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6844

Article in Press

Influence of altitude as a proxy for temperature on key Musa pests and diseases in Watershed areas of Burundi and Rwanda.

Gloria Valentine Nakato, Joshua Sikhu Okonya, Deo Kantungeko, Walter Ocimati, George Mahuku, James Peter Legg, Guy Blomme

  •  Received: 08 March 2021
  •  Accepted: 27 April 2021
Pests and diseases are key biotic constraints limiting banana production among smallholder farmers in Eastern and Central Africa. Global warming as a result of the changing climatic conditions may favour pest and disease development and further exacerbate the vulnerability of these smallholder farmers to these biotic constraints. Gathering information on the extent of potential climate change effects on pests and pathogens of banana is crucial for policy makers and researchers when designing control strategies and making adaptation plans. Since altitude is inversely related to temperature, this study used altitude as a proxy for temperature increase associated with global warming to understand the occurrence of key banana pests and diseases. 93 and 99 banana fields, respectively, across three altitude ranges in Burundi and two altitude ranges in Rwanda, were surveyed to estimate the occurrence of banana pests and diseases. Significant altitude effects for Banana Bunchy Top Disease (BBTD) and Fusarium wilt (FW) prevalence and incidence were evident in Burundi. Temperature and altitude related effects observed for BBTD and FW in Burundi indicate that increase in global temperatures may intensify spread at higher altitudes; necessitating farmers to intensify pest and disease management practices to prevent decline in yield. Data collected in this study provides a baseline to verify and guide predicted pest and disease distribution models over coming years in similar environments. Such information is useful in informing policy makers and designing appropriate management strategies.

Keywords: banana bunchy top disease, banana nematodes, banana weevils, elevation gradient, Fusarium wilt, global warming, pest risk analysis, quarantine, Xanthomonas wilt of banana