Banana xanthomonas wilt (BXW) is a primary constraint to smallholder banana production in East and Central Africa. Experiential learning through farmer field schools (FFS) can accelerate the diffusion of integrated pest management (IPM) technologies at community level, consequently rendering production systems more productive, profitable, and sustainable. This paper explores the importance of FFS in successful transfer of the four-pronged ABCC strategy (that is, Avoid disease introduction, Break male buds, Cut down diseased plants, and Clean tools) for effective BXW control in Siaya County in Kenya. About 83% FFS-participants had advanced capacity for BXW diagnosis and control it with the ABCC practices. FFS also contributed to the spillover of ABCC practices to non-participating households in the community. In a paradox, 7.2% FFS-participants disadopted various practices compared to 4.7% non-participants. A few households (21%) deployed the ABCC package in its entirety, whereas majority (79%) dismantled the package, and recreated more user-friendly options. Most widely used reconstituted packages were ABC (Avoid, Break male buds, and Clean tools) (69%), and BC (Break male bud and Clean tools) (74%). An explanation being that adoption decisions are sequential and ultimate choice to adopt being reached after realization of true benefits and costs of the technology. Farmers dismantled the ABCC package after discovering a lack-of-fit within the smallholder’s context, defined by several farm level constraints. Dismantling the ABCC package allows farmers to create user-friendly practices, but also diminishes the prior anticipated impacts, which results in resurgence. Fine-tuning of these alternatives is necessary to ensure sustainable BXW management.
Key words: ABCC practices, banana xanthomonas wilt (BXW), farmer field school (FFS), Kenya, Siaya.
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