Controlling the spread of Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW)
ASARECA supported INERA to promote proven and cost-effective measures to control the deadly BXW epidemic that threatened to wipe out the banana crop in Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Working with INERA, the project established eight macro- propagation units in four sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in addition to mother gardens and demonstration plots established in Kayonza and Gisagara districts. The units produced clean banana plantlets for distribution to farmers. Within six months of adoption, BXW prevalence reduced from over 90% to less than 5%, while the proportion of farmers who controlled the disease increased from less than 5% to over 60%. After 15 months, banana production recovered from zero percent in some places to over 80%.
Promoting climbing bean innovations
Following decline in yields and quality of most bean varieties in Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo, ASARECA supported researchers from these countries to identify and test the best bean cropping systems. Two systems: intercropping beans with maize stalks (as stakes) and monocropping beans using sisal and banana fibre/strings were selected. Extension workers and farmers were trained on best agronomic practices, with the beneficiary farmers registering yield increases from 780 to 3,500 kg/ha, while those who intercropped climbing beans with maize realized yield increases from 367 to 2,100 kg/ha above the farmers who did not use these technologies.