Research shows material from banana waste can help fight destructive potato cyst nematodes

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With potato production in East Africa under increasing threat from the invasive and highly destructive potato cyst nematode (PCN) pest, an organic technology developed from banana plant waste material may be the ultimate rescue. Known as “wrap and plant”, the solution involves enclosing potato seed in a thick absorbent paper made from the fiber of banana plants before planting. This strategy provides a protective barrier for the plants against damage by PCN.

These research findings led by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), IITA, and North Carolina State University, USA, working with various partners, have been published recently in Nature Sustainability (; article in Science; short video).

“Initially, we aimed to understand whether the “wrap and plant” technology could improve the delivery and effectiveness of nematicides, the chemical agents used to control parasitic worms that damage crops, such as nematodes,” notes Juliet Ochola (Kenya). She was involved in the research as part of her MSc studies that she completed at Kenyatta University, Kenya, in 2021, co-supervised by icipe and IITA.

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