Peter Werehire

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Peter Werehire's profile goes here

Ugandan scientists develop virus-resistant banana, but law may prohibit it from reaching farmers

Banana bacterial wilt, a disease caused by Xanthomonas bacteria, is so devastating to banana and extremely burdensome and costly to a farmer. It attacks the banana plant turning its sap into “pus” that oozes out when cut.

In extreme cases, the plant wilts before fruiting and incase it gets to fruit, it ripens before it matures for a farmer to reap from sweat. It was first recorded in Uganda in 2001 but been in Ethiopia in the 1960’s. This wilt attacks all cultivars of banana from the beloved Matooke to the sweet types causing up to $2.2b estimated annual loss.

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Finding ways to deal with banana pests

Ugandan farmers are faced with the pest and disease burden affecting most banana species grown in the country, ranging from the East African highland banana commonly known as matooke, sukari ndizi, bogoya and gonja. The pests considered “most dangerous” by crop scientists are weevils and nematodes.

The banana weevils, known as Cosmopolites sordidus, are found in all banana growing countries and have existed from the time farmers began growing bananas. They lay eggs at the stems and cause the trunks to rot leading to collapse of the plant.

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Shs 5 billion Banana Bacterial Wilt Action Plan to be Launched

The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Hon. Tress Buchanayandi, has unveiled a plan by government t to combat Banana Bacterial Wilt (BBW).  While addressing members of the press at Uganda Media Centre March 25, 2013, said that the launch BBW will take place at Bukiro Sub County Trading Centre, Mbarara District on 11th-12th April, 2013.  Buchanayandi was accompanied by  the State Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dr.

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Tanzania: Disease Threatens Banana Production

Bukoba — ALL seven Districts in Bukoba, Biharamulo, Muleba, Karagwe, Ngara, Kyerwa and Misenyi districts have been directed to set up by-laws in controlling the destructive Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW), also known as Banana Bacterial Wilt (BBW).

The situation had caused panic among farmers and residents in the region who depend on banana as their main staple and cash crop. Seven districts in Kagera region have confirmed to have been hit by the disease. Almost 90 per cent of the entire crop is at risk of destruction.

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Banana Wilt Breakthrough Boon to EAC

Joint and concerted efforts by East African scientists, researchers and academicians is already beginning to pay off, a sign that integration is the best way forward the EAC.

A major breakthrough for banana farmers and consumers alike was announced recently by the Chief Executive Officer of Crop Bioscience Solutions, Mr. Wilfred Mushobozi who reported that Uganda researchers at the Kawanda Research Institute, near Kampala, had developed a banana wilt--resistant variety.

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New GM banana could help tackle Uganda’s nutrition challenges

A genetically modified (GM) banana with six times the normal level of vitamin A could be widely available in Uganda in five years’ time.

National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) acting director Dr Andrew Kiggundu, has spent seven years working on the new cultivar in a bid to help solve the country’s nutritional problems.

He said 52% of children under the age of five in Uganda suffer from vitamin A deficiencies leading to considerable stunting. Iron deficient anemia accounts for 40% of deaths among this age group and 30% of deaths in pregnant women.

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Increasing banana yields by using tissue culture method

If the country [Uganda] is to advance in agriculture, it has to adopt technologies that give advantage to farmers in the provision of planting materials that are free of disease, mature fast, have better yield and are safe for human consumption.

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Uganda: Urgent Funding Needed to Stem Devastating Banana Wilt

Kampala — Lack of funding has stalled a campaign to eliminate a deadly bacterial banana wilt disease that has spread to "worrying levels" in Uganda, threatening the food security of up to 14 million consumers of bananas as a staple food, say scientists.

According to a scientist at the country's premier agricultural research institute, the disease - known as the Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) - can only be contained if funding of up to US$1 million per year is secured for the fight against its spread.

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Researchers achieve breakthrough in reinforcing plantain microscopic worms

For the first time ever, scientists have built into plantain a viable genetic defense against nematodes – microscopic worms that infest and eat away at the plant’s roots, making them easily topple over and significantly reduce their production. Apart from bacterial wilt diseases, nematodes are among the most economically devastating pests of banana and plantain, the fourth most important staple in sub-Saharan Africa.

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African GM banana trial set to combat root-eating worm

A genetically modified (GM) banana trial to prevent the nematode worm from eating the plant’s roots will go live in Uganda later this year in a bid to boost fruit yields on the African continent.

Up to 30% of Africa’s bananas are affected by the root guzzling worm, which results in weaker trees  uprooting in windy weather and smaller bunches of fruit.

Researchers at Leeds University’s Africa College have created a synthetic gene that produces a peptide, which is a small protein that can be inserted into the plant and will prevent the worm from detecting the roots.

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