Plantains and bananas are staple food for about 70 million people throughout the humid and sub-humid tropic of Africa. They provide an important source of revenue for small holders who cultivate them. Production, however, has always been threatened by a variety of constraints; the most overriding constraint being black Sigatoka disease caused by a wind-borne fungus, Mycosphaerella fijiensis Morelet. As much as 27% of the total cost of production is apportioned to curb the menace the disease. Hence in this write up, the various methods applied so far to control black sigatoka disease in plantains and bananas are reviewed with emphasis on their apparent challenges and prospects. Findings showed that the consumption of plantains and bananas has risen tremendously in recent years, and black Sigatoka disease can be controlled in various ways – culturally, chemically, quarantine, and breeding for disease resistance. A proper management of organic matter using different crop residues as mulch builds up the soil fertility level, and substantially reduced the effect of the disease. The use of forecasting methods could be part of an integrated disease management strategy, as this would reduce the number of fungicide treatment, disease production cost, and partially eliminate pollution challenges. The production and cultivation of disease resistant cultivars in combination with good cultural practices is generally considered to be the most appropriate intervention strategies that would control black sigatoka disease of plantains and bananas.
Key words: Plantain, banana, black Sigatoka disease, Mycosphaerella fijiensis.
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