Bunchy top disease emerges as new threat to East African bananas
Africa’s leading banana production region is threatened by the invasive spread of the banana bunchy top virus (BBTV). The virus occurrence in East African countries was recorded in 2021, and the virus spread is unabated in the region. Urgent regional action is required to halt the expansion of the most lethal banana virus spread to safeguard banana production and banana biodiversity.
The emergence of the banana bunchy top virus (BBTV), responsible for the bunchy top disease, is causing havoc in the Kigoma region of Tanzania. The virus infection results in severe stunting and complete loss of fruit production. The infected plants degenerate in the field and eventually die due to extreme stress. BBTV spread through vegetative propagation of banana as well as by the aphid, Pentalonia nigronervosa, which is known to occur in all banana production regions.