Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Diminishing farm diversity of east African highland bananas in banana bunchy top disease outbreak areas of Burundi-the effect of both disease and control approaches.

Abstract

Disease-driven selection favours evasive, tolerant, and resistant cultivars, changing cultivar diversity significantly. Since its outbreak in Burundi in the late 1980s, Banana Bunchy Top Disease (BBTD) has now spread to 5 out of 18 provinces across the country, principally through informal seed exchanges. Control approaches have focused on using tissue culture clean planting material and eradicating infected mats. This study investigated the impact of BBTD and its control measures on seed selection practices and banana cultivars diversity in Burundi, by comparing two BBTD endemic sites and one where the disease wasn't reported. Results have shown that in addition to agronomic traits used in all sites, some BBTD-typical symptoms were used in seed selection in the endemic areas. Own seed provisioning and formal seed sources networks were more likely to be observed in BBTD-endemic areas, compared with the non-endemic area. Disease control using certified tissue culture planting materials reduced the varietal diversity of local cultivars but enabled the introduction of new cultivars. A general reduction in the diversity of local cultivars grown by farmers in the BBTD endemic zones was observed, with about half of the diversity per farmer compared to the non-endemic zone. Farmer demand for varieties (local and improved) was not different between the two areas. Sustainable conservation of crop genetic diversity in the presence of disease invasions remains a problem to be addressed. Thus, implementing seed system-linked intervention with an explicit and monitored diversity conservation objective would increase the sustainability of agricultural production in such situations.