African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6712

Full Length Research Paper

Xanthomonas wilt of enset in Ethiopia: Geographical spread, impact on production systems and the effect of training on disease management practices

Guy Blomme
  • Guy Blomme
  • The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, c/o ILRI, Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, P. O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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Elizabeth Kearsley
  • Elizabeth Kearsley
  • BlueGreen Labs, Melsele, 9120, Belgium.
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Sisay Buta
  • Sisay Buta
  • Hawassa University, Hawassa, Ethiopia,
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Alemayehu Chala
  • Alemayehu Chala
  • Hawassa University, Hawassa, Ethiopia,
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Ruhama Kebede
  • Ruhama Kebede
  • Independent Consultant, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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Temesgen Addis
  • Temesgen Addis
  • E-nema, Company for Biotechnology and Biological Plant Protection, Schwentinental, 24223, Germany.
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Zerihun Yemataw
  • Zerihun Yemataw
  • Southern Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Hawassa, P. O. Box 06, Ethiopia.
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  •  Received: 11 October 2022
  •  Accepted: 13 December 2022
  •  Published: 31 January 2023

Abstract

Xanthomonas wilt of enset is a major bacterial disease affecting the entire enset-growing belt in the southern Ethiopian highlands, impacting food security and livelihoods of small-holder subsistence farmers. Through extensive interviews and field validation visits with 354 households covering 19 communities (kebeles), we show 70% of the farms to present current and past enset Xanthomonas wilt infections, with a median of 18% cumulative plant loss across affected years since disease appearance. Training by extension services proved critical for building up farmers’ knowledge on disease management, the effective implementation of disease management, and farmers’ persistence to continue with enset production even when dealing with widespread infestations. After receiving training, farmers were ten times more likely to implement targeted hygienic practices and only half as likely to implement non-recommended cultural practices. Nevertheless, training in disease management did not guarantee consistent implementation by farmers. Farmers remained reluctant to dispose of infected plants, a critical part of Xanthomonas wilt management. Moreover, farmers mostly applied disease management practices once infected plants are observed on the farm, but were unaware of preventive approaches. Extension services had also not reached all communities, with 64% of the households not having received training at the time of the survey.

Key words: Disease management, Ethiopian highlands, farmer training, household surveys, Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum