The Banana Xanthomonas Pandemic in Burundi
As of July 2006, BXW has not yet been identified in Burundi, but it poses
a considerable threat to food and livelihood security in Burundi due to the fact
that 1) bananas are the most important food/cash crop in Burundi, 2) the disease
is now found in all three surrounding countries (Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic
of Congo) and 3) Burundi’s borders with its neighbors were BXW is present are relatively
fluid and there is little or no control of the flow of planting material between
To date, almost no effort has been made to institute a national prevention campaign.
Indeed, awareness of the disease and its symptoms is very low amongst agricultural
extension agents, and virtually non-existent amongst rural farmers, who together
make up the first line of defense against the disease.
While it is perhaps impossible to prevent BXW from entering Burundi, it is nevertheless
important to try to inhibit and hopefully delay its introduction. It is also important
to make sure that once introduction occurs, there is a rapid response system in
place to control its impact and its spread throughout all banana producing regions
of the country.